Manuscript Resources on African American History

This guide describes manuscript collections documenting African American history in the Louisiana and Lower Mississippi Valley Collections at LSU. It includes the papers of African Americans and their families; oral histories done with African Americans; and other collections that document African American history in one way or another. In the early period, these collections include documentation of slavery, the slave trade, abolitionism, and apologies for slavery. In the modern period, they include collections that document issues like civil rights, integration, and race relations.

Indeed, the experience of African Americans before and during the Civil War is often documented through the papers of others--among them, planters who bought and sold them as slaves and Union soldiers who commented upon them in letters and diaries. LSU has such resources in abundance. Papers of early African Americans themselves are more difficult to find. But Louisiana and the lower Mississippi Valley had a relatively large population of free persons of color, some of whom did leave papers. They worked as artisans in cities like New Orleans or Natchez, or were planters and even slaveholders themselves. LSU's collections of the papers of free persons of color include the papers of William Johnson of Natchez, now famed as a diarist and commentator on Southern mores.

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Anderson, Henry. Letter, 1863. 1 item. Location: Misc.:A. Union soldier during the Civil War, probably from Indiana, stationed at New Madrid, Missouri. Letter to a friend expresses lack of interest in the cause of slavery and a personal revulsion to African AmericansFor further information, see online catalog. Mss. 1427.

Referenced in Guides: Civil War, African Americans

Anderson, John Q., Papers, 1848-1993 (bulk 1953-1973). 7.5 linear ft., 5 v. Location: X:119-125, OS:A, P:17. John Q. Anderson was a professor of English and a writer of Southern history and folklore. This collections of files, correspondence, printed material, and photographs reflect Anderson's career, current events; and they provide research material for his publications, particularly "Brokenburn: The Journal of Kate Stone, 1861-1868" and "Louisiana Swamp Doctor: The Life of Henry Clay Lewis". For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2156, 2162.

Anderson, Phoebe. Emancipation petition, 1849 Feb. 23. 1 petition. Location: Misc.:A. A petition filed in the Sixth District Court of the Parish of East Baton Rouge by Phoebe Anderson requests permission to emancipate her slave, Alexander. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 3809.

Referenced in Guides: African Americans

Anonymous Civil War letter, [1863] October 4. 1 item. Location: Misc:A. Letter from a Southern woman who had lived in New York City prior to the Civil War compares the changes that have been made during the Civil War and in particular mentions sermons of abolitionist Dr. Henry Whitney Bellows. She also describes the problems encountered in passing through Fortress Monroe under a flag of truce. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2121.

Referenced in Guides: Women, Civil War, African Americans

Anonymous Confederate civilian letters, 1863 August 27-29. 2 items. Location: Misc:A Pages from a letter-diary of a plantation owner, possibly the wife of a Confederate soldier, recording daily activities, local news, plantation work, and slave health. For further information, see online catalog. Mss. 2997.

Referenced in Guides: Plantations, Women, Civil War, African Americans

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