Brown Center for the Study of Slavery and Justice

Research & Resources

Members of the Brown community and beyond have and continue to engage in projects related to the transatlantic slave trade and its modern day impact in Rhode Island and globally.  Below are just a sampling of the varied research conducted and resources available:

Research Opportunities

CSSJ Graduate Funding Opportunity

CSSJ Slavery and Justice Research Award

Recent Publications & Readings 

Female slaves’ stories from the 1830s echo today’s fight against patriarchy

Dark World: The Business of Slavery in Rhode Island Modernity

Task Force on Racial and Class Inequalities in the America 

Introducing the Speculum: A Textual Exploration of the Representations of Dr. J Marion Sims, "Father of Modern Gynecology", and His Slave Medical Experimentations  


Slavery's Capitalism: A New History of American Economic Development: This 2011 conference sponsored by Brown University and Harvard University explored the centrality of slavery to national economic development in the decades between the American Revolution and the Civil War. 

Slavery and its Aftermath in the Atlantic World: An International Symposium: Sponsored by the University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC) Institute for the Humanities. This international symposium on the slave trade and its aftermath in the modern world was inspired by the UIC Library’s unique collection of works on abolition, the founding of Sierra Leone, the transatlantic slave trade, and modern Caribbean literature.  

Sugar and BeyondSugar and Beyond seeks to evaluate the current state of scholarship on sugar, as well as to move beyond it by considering related or alternative consumer cultures and economies.  


How a slave from Mauritius led a rebellion in Cape Town: "On 27 October 1808, about 340 slaves from the Swartland and Koeberg hinterland of Cape Town rose up in revolt. They attacked over thirty of the prosperous grain farms of the region, took the farmers prisoner and marched on Cape Town where they planned to ‘hoist the bloody flag and fight themselves free."

Freedom Now: The Civil Rights Movement in MississippiCreated by the Choices Program.  The civil rights movement was one of the most pivotal events in U.S. history. Often forgotten are the everyday people who were on the frontlines of the fight for justice and equality, working for change in their home communities. Freedom Now: The Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi explores the history of the civil rights movement at the local level as well as the national level. 

The Haitian RevolutionCreated by the Choices Program.   In the late eighteenth century, enslaved people in Saint-Domingue, the French colony that became Haiti, rose up against their colonial masters and gained their freedom and independence. Understanding the Haitian Revolution is crucial to understanding the course of world history and the history of the Americas. It is also essential to understanding Haiti today. Through readings, maps, digital activities, and simulations, students consider the development of the American colonial world and the legacies of the only successful slave revolt in the history of the world.

Sankofa: African Americans in Rhode Island: Created by Brown University's Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, this standards-linked resource packet provides tools for teaching about African American History and Culture in Rhode Island.  Funded, in part, by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.

Slavery in our World Today: Created by Brown University's Haffenreffer Museum of Anthropology, this lesson plan provides tools for teachers to discuss modern slavery with their students. Funded, in part, by the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities.

Emancipation Proclamation Anniversary

The Emancipation of Abe LincolnOne hundred and fifty years ago, on Jan. 1, 1863, Abraham Lincoln presided over the annual White House New Year’s reception. Like all great historical transformations, emancipation was a process, not a single event. 

Lincoln Collection and EmancipationBrown’s Charles Woodberry McLellan Collection of Lincolniana, housed in the John Hay Library, includes many items that provide important insight into the mindset of Lincoln and the state of the country during this historically significant era.Many of the items in Brown’s Lincoln collection have been digitized and can be viewed at

Exhibits & Historic Documents

First Readings: Sons of Providence: Sponsored by the Dean of the College and Brown Alumni Association, First Readings is Brown’s summer reading project for all new students.  For academic year 2012-2013, students read Sons of Providence by Charles Rappleye,  the biography of John and Moses Brown, two brothers caught at opposite ends of the slavery issue in the early beginnings of colonial America.  The website includes information about the history of the Brown family and Providence.

Repository of Historical Documents: The report of the Brown University Steering Committee on Slavery and Justice draws on a wide array of historical documents, from the records of slaving voyages to personal correspondence to student commencement orations. Working in collaboration with Brown's Center for Digital Initiatives and the Scholarly Technology Group, the committee was able to create a digital archive of these materials, enabling students and interested members of the public to join it in its exploration of the early history of our university, state, and nation.

Researching Slavery and the Slave Trade:  An online research guide to Brown University's Library with links to resources connected to slavery and the slave trade. 

Slavery & Justice: Select Sources from the John Carter Brown Library: No exhibition can fully tell the story of slavery, in all of its tragic dimensions. But through these books and artifacts, the John Carter Brown Library aimed to convey a sense of the complexity of early American slavery, its slow rise, its geographical variants, and its countless, endless legacies. 

Voyage of the Slave Ship Sally: In 1764, a one-hundred ton brigantine called the Sally embarked from Providence, Rhode Island, to West Africa on a slaving voyage. Nicholas Brown and Company, a Providence merchant firm run by four brothers – Nicholas, John, Joseph, and Moses Brown owned the ship.  The Sally's voyage was one of roughly a thousand transatlantic slaving ventures launched by Rhode Islanders in the colonial and early national period, and one of the deadliest. Of the 196 Africans acquired by the ship's master, Esek Hopkins, at least 109 perished, some in a failed insurrection, others by suicide, starvation, and disease.   This exhibit examines the Sally's voyage through historical documents.