English Dutch French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish


Road to Freedom: Emancipation Proclamation

Since arriving in North America in the 15th century, Africans in the United States were forced to navigate the social, economic, and physical limitations placed upon their lives by the institutions of slavery and the racist ideology that justified it. The following primary source set shows several ways that different communities responded to the outlawing of the Atlantic slave trade (and subsequent yearly celebrations of the event) and the Emancipation Proclamation. These two events fundamentally challenged and changed the institutional practices of slavery. 

Civil War and Reconstruction

The Library of Congress holds the best collection of primary sources anywhere on the Civil War and Reconstruction. (See especially the exhibitions under “d” below.) Therefore, the great challenge is to choose the most significant yet engaging and classroom-friendly from among hundreds of thousands of photos, drawings, newspaper articles, speeches, maps, and songs. Each item in this set focuses on a vital point in the conflict and its aftermath. Each item offers clear and meaningful opportunity for students to dig deeper.

African American Experience of the Civil War

War has lasting and damaging effects on society. The three obvious areas are political, economical, and social. This primary source set details evidence of the impact that the Civil War had on dividing the North and the South. The sources tell the story of a nation struggling to gain economic and political footing and power in the world, while at times being unaware or naive of the social tear that such an ambitious goal could have on such a young nation.

Subscribe to Reconstruction