University Library News
Georgia State University

Collaborative online exhibit recognizes 400 years since American slavery began in the Southeast

The Association of Southeastern Research Libraries (ASERL) announces a new digital exhibit created and curated by the ASERL Special Collections Interest Group. This collaborative online exhibit recognizes 400 years since the arrival of the first Africans sold into bondage in the English Colonies. This date, in 1619, is regarded as the beginning of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade in North America.

The exhibit, “Enslaved People in the Southeast,” was curated by a team of nine archivists and contains more than 100 items related to American slavery and its after-effects. Items in the exhibit include auction records and other bills of sale, plantation records, materials from the abolitionist movement, and photographs and other items from the Jim Crow South.

“As a major research institution in the Southeast that holds extensive photographic collections, Georgia State University is committed to sharing those resources to shed light on the long ‘hidden’ history of slavery in all of its forms, noted Christina Zamon, Head of Special Collections & Archives at Georgia State University.  “Our most visible contribution is a series of photographs documenting convict leasing, a 20th century iteration of slavery in the Southeast.  We hope that by sharing this information it will inform and inspire future generations to avoid the mistakes of the past and seek to advance equality and justice for all Americans.”

Image courtesy of Lane Brothers Commercial Photographers Photographic Collection, 1920-1976. Special Collections and Archives, Georgia State University.

Founded in 1956, ASERL is one of the largest regional research library consortia in the United States, serving 38 institutional members in 11 states.  By working together, ASERL members provide and maintain top-quality resources and services for the students, faculty, and citizens of their respective communities.

All items in the ASERL online exhibit can be found at  Additional items may be added to the exhibit in coming months.