Reviews & Testimonials
[Visited Sep'09] Enabling researchers to search across several content types, Slavery and Anti-Slavery (SAS) represents a consummate resource for examining slavery. Included in its 1.5 million-plus cross-searchable pages are manuscripts, books, pamphlets, newspapers, periodicals, Supreme Court records, and other legal documents, all of which were previously available only on microfilm. Researchers may easily access collections related to the slave trade, the institution of slavery, the abolitionist movement, and Emancipation. Searching this archive is intuitive. Users have the option of a basic keyword search or an impressively robust advanced search feature. In addition to searching by fields including title, author, publication date, and source library, users may limit a search by content type (e.g., manuscripts and Supreme Court documents), document type (e.g., personal accounts, correspondence, and images), and language. Users may also perform a fuzzy search to identify potentially relevant content by retrieving near matches on a term.
Beyond the vast archive of primary source materials, SAS features an invaluable Research Tools section. Here one finds a comprehensive chronology of world slavery, beginning with 594 BCE (citizen slavery in Athens was abolished) and ending with 1962 CE (slavery became illegal on the Arabian Peninsula). This section also includes a dozen essays written by preeminent scholars on topics such as abolition in America, the Constitution and slavery, and pro-slavery writings. Undergraduates and neophyte researchers will find the chronology and topic essays very useful — they do a fantastic job of contextualizing slavery and the anti-slavery movement. Unfortunately, the biographies of important individuals (Douglass, Tubman, L'Ouverture) and the background of significant events (Amistad Rebellion, Harper's Ferry) included in the Research Tools section are a bit anemic. The exclusion of important individuals, such as Denmark Vessey and Nat Turner, and pivotal events, such as the Stono Rebellion, is baffling. However, one senses that these sections will be developed in the future, as this is an ongoing project. The inclusion of a bibliography and list of germane Web sites--both of which are exhaustive and well organized--allows for research beyond SAS.
This database is an unparalleled resource for expert historians and undergraduate students alike. What's particularly exciting is that the current iteration is merely the beginning of an ongoing endeavor. Continuing with the release of Slave Trade in the Atlantic World in 2011, the editors plan an additional part every year through 2013. Simply put, nothing comparable to SAS (and the proposed future iterations) exists. This project is unequivocally the most important undertaking related to the study of slavery since Eugene Genovese's epochal Roll, Jordan, Roll (CH, Nov'75).
Upper-level undergraduates through faculty/researchers.
– R. Walsh, Three Rivers Community College, CHOICE, December 2009
ADDITIONAL REVIEWS & TESTIMONIALS
Ken Black, Booklist Review, November 2009 [pdf, 244KB]