Federal records document the history of American slavery and freedom from the founding period of our federal government in the late eighteenth-century through the modern Civil Rights era. In particular, records of the U.S. District Courts, U.S. Customs Service, and the Freedmen's Bureau yield fascinating insights into this difficult topic.
In this collection of resources, the National Archives regional offices in Atlanta, Boston, New York, and Philadelphia have made available numerous documents for public and educational use. Topics include the slave trade, fugitive slaves, court cases, and civil rights. For example, slave manifests document American engagement in the slave trade, while court cases cover topics such as fugitive slaves and segregation. We hope these resources help to tell the story of American slavery and freedom.
The Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast Regional offices of the National Archives hold records from the United States District and Circuit Courts beginning in 1789. These records tell the story of slavery and freedom through suits of admiralty and bankruptcy, seizures of goods under Federal law, matters of equity, and violations of Federal criminal law.