Dr. Brian Robinson (University Libraries) received new funding from the Association for the Study of African American Life and History for the project “’No Longer Yours’: Contextualizing and Emphasizing Freedom Seekers of North Carolina.”
Funding will support the development of a digital textbook that highlights the lives and conditions of people enslaved. By providing a history of the social dynamics and networks, geography, local laws, and conditions of daily work and life, this text will provide the reader with insights into the local circumstances of those who sought freedom. This resource will help new learners, who may think of the Underground Railroad in vague and general terms, connect to the lived realities of people who were enslaved in North Carolina and the strategies they used to seek freedom.
Information will be derived from both primary and secondary sources and from digital and analog materials. Observations and examples from scholarly works (Freddie Parker’s Running For Freedom: Slave Runaways in North Carolina 1775-1840, Robert S. Starobin’s Letters of American Slaves, William Still’s The Underground Railroad and John W. Blassingame Slave Testimony: Two centuries of letters, speeches, interviews, and autobiographies) will be carefully selected and presented in formats accessible to learners of all ages. Primary sources drawn from the North Carolina Works Progress Administration (WPA) narratives, NC Runaway Slave Advertisements, People Not Property, and the Race and Slavery Petitions Project will play a central role in helping learners conceptualize slavery and freedom-seeking through concrete examples.