12. Historians Speak Out


Since 2004, many essays pertaining to Black Lives in the Founding Era have been published in History Now, the online journal of the Gilder Lehrman Institute. Selected essays are available here, to provide historical perspective for teachers, students, and general readers. 

“When the Past Speaks to the Present: Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings” by Annette Gordon-Reed (History Now 2, “Primary Sources on Slavery,” Winter 2004)

“Two Revolutions in the Atlantic World: Connections between the American Revolution and the Haitian Revolution” by Laurent Dubois (History Now 34, “The Revolutionary Age,” Winter 2012)

“A Poem Links Unlikely Allies in 1775: Phillis Wheatley and George Washington” by James G. Basker (History Now 39, “American Poets, American History,” Spring 2014)

“African Americans in the Revolutionary War” by Michael Lee Lanning (History Now 46, “African American Soldiers,” Fall 2016)

“New York City’s African Burial Ground” by Michael L. Blakey (History Now 49, “Excavating American History,” Fall 2017)


Learn more about Black Lives in the Founding Era from such leading historians as Annette Gordon-Reed and James Oliver Horton. We invite you to view short clips that introduce related topics and are particularly suited for classroom use.

“American Antislavery Writings: Colonial Beginnings to Emancipation,” a presentation by James G. Basker

“Re-Imagining the Founding Era: Washington, Wheatley and American Patriotism,” a presentation by James G. Basker

“How Did Slavery Begin in North America?” a presentation by Christopher Brown

Annette Gordon-Reed’s Remarks at Douglass Prize Dinner, 2010

“Slavery and the American Revolution,” a presentation by James Oliver Horton

“Slavery and the Constitution,” a presentation by James Oliver Horton