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The Liberator

The Liberator (1831-1865) was the most widely circulated anti-slavery newspaper during the antebellum period and throughout the Civil War. It was published and edited in Boston by William Lloyd Garrison, a leading white abolitionist and founder of the influential American Anti-Slavery Society. Over the three decades of its publication, The Liberator denounced all people and acts that would prolong slavery including the United States Constitution. Garrison’s condemnation of the Constitution was an incredibly controversial and eventually led to a split with Frederick Douglass. Once referred to as the most aggressive and outspoken abolitionist the world-over, Garrison was decades ahead of most other northern white abolitionists in demanding the immediate emancipation of all people held in bondage and the restoration of the natural rights of enslaved persons. Garrison’s nature attracted him followers, lovingly called “Garrisonians,” but also many more detractors. Throughout his tenure as editor of The Liberator, his vitriolic criticisms of all people and institutions he saw as responsible for slavery gained him many threats and attempts against his life, including a $5000 (now valued at over $150,000) bounty on his head in Georgia. Garrison’s abolitionism, as well as his support of women’s rights for equality, were driven by the moral imperative to ensure that all people would truly be equal. The Liberator, whose readership was predominantly free blacks in the northern states, officially ended its run in 1865 when the Civil War ended. At the close of the paper’s run, Garrison declared, “my vocation as an abolitionist is ended.” He then turned his attention to women’s suffrage, pacifism, and condemning the post-Reconstruction actions of southern states against blacks. Help us to transcribe these issues of The Liberator and commemorate one of the major forces in the cause for abolition.

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148 Total Pages 38 Contributing Members

John Freeman Shorter's Diary

“Spent the morning and afternoon at Church and heard two fine sermons. A Report received that Charleston and Columbia had been captured and the left wing of Shermans Army was within 25 miles of Richmond.” So wrote Lieutenant John Freeman Shorter (1842-1865) on February 19, 1865. Shorter raised as a freeman in Washington, D.C., joined the 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in 1863 and became a fully commissioned officer. His diary details the experiences of a civil war soldier from January 1, 1865 to September 30, 1865. Helps us transcribe the rest of his diary and discover what life was like for an African American soldier during the Civil War.

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250 Total Pages 41 Contributing Members

Hampton Classes, 1871-1898

In 1871, Hampton Institute graduated its first class comprised of five women and fourteen men. Between 1871 and 1898 the sizes of the graduating classes at Hampton continued to grow. Listed here are the names of every person to graduate from Hampton Institute between 1871 and 1898. Included in this reference book are two of Hampton’s most famous alumni: Booker T. Washington (founder of Tuskegee Institute) and Robert Sengstacke Abbott (founder of the Chicago Defender). Help us transcribe this book and let us know if you find any other notable alumni on its pages.

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124 Total Pages 43 Contributing Members

James Baldwin Collection

James Baldwin (1924-1987) spent most of his life speaking out on the issues of race relations and racial discrimination in America. Through numerous bestselling novels, plays, and essays written during the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, Baldwin addressed themes of racial and sexual oppression by connecting many of his personal experiences to national and international issues. Although Baldwin spent the bulk of his career living and working in Europe, mainly France and Turkey, he often returned to the United States to take part in events surrounding the American Civil Rights Movement. Help us transcribe the personal objects and letters in this collection that document Baldwin’s life as an expatriate writer and activist in the second half of the twentieth century.

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47 Total Pages 34 Contributing Members

Benjamin Banneker's 1793 Almanack and Ephemeris

This 1793 edition of Benjamin Banneker's Almanack and Ephemeris features an annual calendar, statistical information, phases of the moon, astronomical data, and tide tables. Banneker's almanacs were unique because they featured social commentary and politically oriented literature. Some writings from this almanac include "A Plan of a Peace-Office, for the United States," "Extracts from the Debates in the Last Session of the British Parliament, Apr. 1792," "Extract from Jefferson's Notes on Virginia," and "Extract from Wilkinson's Appeal to England on Behalf of the Abused Africans." Please click "READ MORE" below for instructions for transcribing the tables in the almanac.

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47 Total Pages 37 Contributing Members

Playbill of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide, 1977

One of the time-honored traditions of the theater is the playbill. From local community theaters to Broadway, playbills provide the audience with information about the story being told on stage and the artists who bring it to life. After the show, playbills often become cherished souvenirs. "Playbill," a monthly magazine distributed at major theaters in New York and nationwide, presents details about particular productions along with articles about current happenings in the theater world.

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41 Total Pages 22 Contributing Members

Playbill for Your Arms Too Short to Box With God

One of the time-honored traditions of the theater is the playbill. From local community theaters to Broadway, playbills provide the audience with information about the story being told on stage and the artists who bring it to life. After the show, playbills often become cherished souvenirs. "Playbill," a monthly magazine distributed at major theaters in New York and nationwide, presents details about particular productions along with articles about current happenings in the theater world. The museum's collection of playbills, which spans from the 19th century to the present, offers insight into the roles African Americans have played in the development of American theater as actors, playwrights, directors, producers, costume designers, choreographers, and more. Help us transcribe this document to discover and share the history of African Americans taking the stage.

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45 Total Pages 27 Contributing Members

Playbill for Ma Rainey's Black Bottom

One of the time-honored traditions of the theater is the playbill. From local community theaters to Broadway, playbills provide the audience with information about the story being told on stage and the artists who bring it to life. After the show, playbills often become cherished souvenirs. "Playbill," a monthly magazine distributed at major theaters in New York and nationwide, presents details about particular productions along with articles about current happenings in the theater world. The museum's collection of playbills, which spans from the 19th century to the present, offers insight into the roles African Americans have played in the development of American theater as actors, playwrights, directors, producers, costume designers, choreographers, and more. Help us transcribe this document to discover and share the history of African Americans taking the stage.

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21 Total Pages 21 Contributing Members

Playbill for Bubbling Brown Sugar

One of the time-honored traditions of the theater is the playbill. From local community theaters to Broadway, playbills provide the audience with information about the story being told on stage and the artists who bring it to life. After the show, playbills often become cherished souvenirs. "Playbill," a monthly magazine distributed at major theaters in New York and nationwide, presents details about particular productions along with articles about current happenings in the theater world. The museum's collection of playbills, which spans from the 19th century to the present, offers insight into the roles African Americans have played in the development of American theater as actors, playwrights, directors, producers, costume designers, choreographers, and more. Help us transcribe this document to discover and share the history of African Americans taking the stage.

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