The transatlantic slave trade began in the 15th century and lasted into the late 19th century. Millions of African peoples of all genders, ages, beliefs, kinship groups and nations were forcibly transported by European traders to labour in body-and-soul destroying conditions in the Americas.
From the beginning, Black women, children and men fought for their freedoms. They resisted by any and every means necessary. Among these freedom-fighters were Frederick Douglass and Harriet Jacobs who were born into slavery in the USA. They and thousands more African Americans campaigned for the end of slavery by giving speeches in the USA and travelling to Britain to raise money for the cause.
The courageous Black freedom-fighters succeeded: Britain issued the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act in 1807 and the Slave Emancipation Act in 1833 and the USA ended slavery with the passing of the 13th Amendment in 1864.
Six themes to explore
- The story of the slave
- Mainstream politics
- The American Civil War
- Black abolitionists in Scotland
- The Frederick Douglass family
- Hidden women's histories