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Influence of Slavery on American University resources

Resources related to the history of the site of American University and the influence of slavery on American University.



The information listed below includes links to online resources, archival materials, and research initiatives related to the history of slavery in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. These lists are not exhaustive; however, additional resources will be added in the future. 


African American Heritage Trail, Cultural Tourism DC

The African American Heritage Trail includes sites throughout D.C.'s neighborhoods with connections to the city's history of slavery. Below are a few of the sites featured.

  • Chain Bridge Road School
    • Built in 1923, the Chain Bridge Road School was built for African-American students living in the northwest part of Washington, D.C. and neighboring communities in Maryland.
  • Union Burial Society of Georgetown Cemetery
    • The Union Burial Society of Georgetown Cemetery was founded in 1868. Many individuals buried there were from the African-American community of St. Philips Hill, currently known as the area around Battery Kemble Park.
  • Bell School Site
    • The Bell School is considered to be the first school established for African Americans in Washington, D.C.
  • Frederick Douglass Museum and Hall of Fame for Caring Americans
    • This site recognizes the life and work of Frederick Douglass (ca.1818 - 1895).
  • John H. Paynter Residence
    • Paynter wrote Fugitives of the Pearl (1930). He was descended from Mary and Emily Edmonson, who were involved in the attempted escape from Washington, D.C. on the Pearl schooner in 1848.
  • Lincoln Park
    • Lincoln Park is the location of the Emancipation Memorial, also known as the Freedmen’s Memorial. The memorial features Abraham Lincoln symbolically freeing an African American man.
  • Michael Shiner Residence Site
    • Michael Shiner (ca. 1805-1880), was a formerly enslaved worker who wrote a memoir about his life as an employee of the Washington Navy Yard.
  • United States Capitol
    • The construction of the U.S. Capitol involved the enslaved labor of African-American women and men. Philip Reid, who was enslaved, was responsible for the final casting, transportation, and assembly of the Statue of Freedom by white sculptor Thomas Crawford that tops the dome.
  • United States Supreme Court Building/Old Brick Capitol Site
    • During the Civil War (1861-1865), the Brick Capitol became Capitol Prison. African-Americans seeking freedom were held at the prison along with white Confederate soldiers, spies, and other political prisoners until 1862.
  • DC Superior Court/ Old City Hall
    • Old City Hall, built between 1820 and 1850, was Washington City's first public building. It housed a court of law where trials of abolitionists and Underground Railroad participants occurred in the early 1820s. The American Convention for the Abolition of Slavery also met here in 1829.
  • Epicurean Eating House/Snow Riot Site
    • Black business owner Beverly Snow's restaurant, the Epicurean Eating House, was the site of a riot in 1835.

Civil War Washington


Mount Zion-Female Union Band Cemetery

National Archives and Records Administration

White House Historical Association


Maryland State Archives

  • Legacy of Slavery in Maryland
    • Program by the Maryland State Archives that shares documents, exhibits, and interactive presentations regarding slavery in Maryland.
  • Database
    • Can look up names of slaveowners, i.e., Elijah Hurst, Emily Hurst

Other Resources

Jamestown Rediscovery