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Collection: Black History – Slavery and Reconstruction

Slavery began in the United States in 1619 when the first African slave ship arrived. Although Congress outlawed the slave trade in 1808, domestic slave trading continued, and the population of enslaved people grew to nearly 4 million by 1860. The enslaved people’s brutal experiences during the transatlantic slave trade and in homes and plantations throughout the U.S. continued until the 13th amendment was passed in 1865. During the reconstruction period between 1863 and 1877, the U.S. government took steps to integrate formerly enslaved people into society and reunify the nation after the Civil War; however, the reconstruction process was difficult, and some may say unfinished. This audio story collection features stories about slavery and reconstruction, including narratives of enslaved people and their involvement in early U.S history, important figures of the abolitionist movement, efforts toward reparation, and life for free black people after emancipation.

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