Digital Archive of Anti-Slavery and Anti-Segregation Petitions

Digital Archive of Anti-Slavery and Anti-Segregation Petitions Archive Database, Map of the Petitions Database
On February 27th, 2015, The Digital Archive of Massachusetts Anti-Slavery and Anti-Segregation Petitions was released through the Harvard Dataverse Network. This searchable online database includes almost 3,500 petitions with nearly 282,000 signatures sent to the Massachusetts colonial and state legislatures from the years 1649 to 1870, now located at the Massachusetts Archives. Each petition image is annotated with detailed information, and the dataset provides web-based browsing, searching, and filtering, along with images of the digitized documents. The documents and subjects from this database include freedom petitions, black military service from the 17th century through the Civil War, petitions from or about people who were enslaved, religion, education, racial discrimination, Native American connections, capital punishment, and national anti-slavery issues, such as protests against additional slave states or slavery in Washington D.C. Many prominent black abolitionists signed the petitions, including William C. Nell, Sarah Remond, Charles Lenox Remond, Charlotte Forten, Harriet Jacobs, Frederick Douglass, Paul Cuffee, Quock Walker, John T. Hilton, Prince Hall, Sojourner Truth, Lewis Hayden, Henry Box Brown, William Craft, Ellen Craft, Thomas Sims, William Wells Brown, Benjamin Roberts, Robert Morris, Thomas Dalton, John Rock, John de Grasse, Leonard Grimes, John Coburn, George Ruffin, James Trotter, J. Sella Martin, Edwin G. Walker, and Aaron A. Bradley. 

The database was made possible through the generous support and assistance of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Massachusetts Archives, and the following Harvard University affiliates: the Harvard University Libraries, the Institutional Development Initiative, the Institute for Quantitative Social Science, the Center for American Political Studies, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and Professor Daniel Carpenter, the principal investigator.

For more information on the Digital Archive of Anti-Slavery and Anti-Segregation Petitions please contact Nicole Topich, Archivist: ntopich@fas.harvard.edu.