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.
- Lemuel Haynes, “Liberty Further Extended: Or Free Thoughts on the Illegality of Slave-Keeping” (1776)
- Lancaster Hill, Peter Bess, Brister Slenser, Prince Hall, et al.,“The Petition of a Great Number of Negroes Who Are Detained in a State of Slavery” (January 13, 1777)
- “Vox Africanorum,” Letter to the Maryland Gazette (May 15, 1783)
- Benjamin Banneker, Letter to Thomas Jefferson (August 19, 1791)
Slavery and Abolition in the Founding Era: Black and White Voices (GLI, 2021)