"Every tone was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance from chains. The hearing of those wild notes always depressed my spirit, and filled me with ineffable sadness. I have frequently found myself in tears while hearing them. The mere recurrence to those songs, even now, afflicts me; and while I am writing these lines, an expression of feeling has already found its way down my cheek. To those songs I trace my first glimmering conception of the dehumanizing character of slavery. I can never get rid of that conception. Those songs still follow me, to deepen my hatred of slavery, and quicken my sympathies for my brethren in bonds. If any one wishes to be impressed with the soul-killing effects of slavery, let him go to Colonel Lloyd's plantation, and, on allowance-day, place himself in the deep pine woods, and there let him, in silence, analyze the sounds that shall pass through the chambers of his soul." - Frederick Douglass
This website and the organization of its content was created by Megan VanGorder for Gilder Lehrman Institute's Online Course - Amazing Grace: How Writers Helped End Slavery. Course participants were challenged to create an original anthology—an exercise in historical imagination—of antislavery works.
This particular anthology focuses on the voices from African Americans in America with their perspectives and historical contexts prior to emancipation. "Every tone" of each narrative included speaks out against the peculiar institution in the antebellum period through the power of personal testimony.
To read more about the focus and considerations of this anthology, read the introduction.