2. The Declaration and African American History

In this section, the Institute presents historic documents and publications that tell the story of how the Declaration inspired the birth of the civil rights movement among African Americans within months of its appearance. The Declaration asserted and codified rights that African Americans claimed for themselves as equal participants in the new nation.

Historic Documents

Publications

History Now 60 (Summer 2021), “Black Lives in the Founding Era”

This landmark issue features sixteen essays by leading historians including Margaret Washington, Lois Horton, Thomas J. Davis, Julie Winch, and James G. Basker. The essays focus on the lives and achievements of African American founders such as Phillis Wheatley, Absalom Jones, Richard Allen, and James Forten, among others. Click here to subscribe to History Now.

Slavery and Abolition in the Founding Era: Black and White Voices (GLI, 2021)

Slavery and Abolition in the Founding Era: Black and White Voices, a new publication from the Gilder Lehrman Institute, brings together long-forgotten writings from this period, including twenty-five texts in different genres by more than nineteen different writers, spanning the forty-five-year period from the 1770s to the end of the War of 1812. The writings show that opposition to slavery was surprisingly widespread. Purchase your copy here

2022 Calendar of Black Lives in the Founding Era

The Gilder Lehrman Institute's 2022 Calendar of Black Lives in the Founding Era features selected dates recognizing the lives and achievements of African American founders and illustrations of important figures and events.