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Captive Passage: The Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Making of the Americas

The Underground Railroad
Frederick Douglass
The Dred Scott Case

Captive Passage
has been made
possible in part by:
National Endowment for the Humanities
Recognition of
additional sponsors
for this exhibition
can be found by
clicking on

AbolitionOutlawing the Trade: Fighting Illegal Slave Trading
A Growing Hunger for FreedomThe Struggle for Emancipation: Africans Becoming American

A Growing Hunger for Freedom

In 1791, news of the slave revolt led by Toussaint L'Ouverture brought fear to slave owners throughout the Americas. The revolt ended in the establishment of an independent Haiti in 1802.

The Federal Gazette
The Federal Gazette

In other slave-holding nations, owners tightened their hold by strictly regulating the lives of their slaves. They passed laws that severely limited or even prohibited the rights and freedoms of slaves. They inflicted brutal and degrading physical punishment for minor offenses and often abused the women. They even restricted the slaves' freedom outside work. By law, slaves were merely property.

Hunted Slaves
Hunted Slaves

Slaves fought against their captors in a number of ways. Occasionally they injured or killed their owners and families, or in desperation killed themselves. Many ran away and some established maroon (runaway slave) communities. In time some white owners released their slaves or allowed them to buy their freedom or even the freedom of their family.