In recognition of Black History Month, Fold3 is making the records in its Black History collection available for free through the end of February.
Whether you’re searching for your ancestors or looking for primary documents to help with other research, the Black History collection gives you access to more than a million documents, records, and photos that help to capture the African-American experience during five eras of American history: Slavery, The Civil War, Reconstruction & Jim Crow Laws, World War I & II, and the Civil Rights Movement
- Danish West Indies – Slavery and Emancipation: These records cover the institution of slavery and the emancipation of slaves in the Virgin Islands during Danish rule, 1672-1917.
- Suppression of Slave Trade and Colonization (1854-72): These records cover the institution of slavery and the emancipation of slaves in the Virgin Islands during Danish rule, 1672-1917.
- Amistad – Federal and Supreme Court records: Court records pertaining to the claims of salvage for the Spanish slave schooner “Amistad,” seized in 1839 by the US Navy.
- American Colonization Society: Documents relating to the American Colonization Society, 1792-1964, an organization best known for its role in founding Liberia.
- Board of Commissioners – Emancipation of Slaves in DC: Records of the Board of Commissioners for the Emancipation of Slaves in the District of Columbia, 1862-63.
- Court Slave Records for DC: Records of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Relating to Slaves, 1851-63, including emancipation and manumission papers.
- South Carolina Estate Inventories and Bills of Sale, 1732-1872: South Carolina court records relating to estate and personal assets.
- Colored Troops: Compiled military service records of volunteer Union soldiers serving in various colored units in the Civil War, including the United States Colored Troops (USCT).
- And more!
Some examples of interesting records you can find in the Black History collection include:
- An 1810 inventory for the estate of Joseph Morton, a “free black man”
- An 1827 inventory for the estate of Thomas Drayton that lists his 160 slaves by family group
- A Civil War—era photograph of black laborers
- The service record of Christian A. Fleetwood of the US Colored Infantry, who earned the Medal of Honor during the Civil War
- A photograph of 3 members of the original black fighter squadron in WWII