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Slavery in the United States lasted more than two centuries. The adoption of the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in December 1865 abolished slavery after the American Civil War.
The first slaves were forcibly removed from Africa by British slave traders beginning in the early 1600s.
Redoshi, later renamed Sally Smith, was the last surviving female slave brought to the U.S. from Africa. A Benoise war captive, she was illegally transported to the US (importing slaves having been outlawed 50 years prior). The last surviving male slave, Oluale Kossula (aka Cudjo Lewis), had been transported on the sale ship and was most likely part of the Yoruba people in Benin.
The quality of a slave's life depended completely on their master's will. It was considered normal, for example, for masters to rape their slaves, who were considered their property. Slaves who escaped were branded, killed, or punished severely in other ways.
Solomon Northup Twelve Years a Slave
Booker T. Washington Up From Slavery
Frederick Douglass From Slavery to Freedom
Olaudah Equiano The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, Or Gustavus Vassa, The African
Harriet Ann Jacobs Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Mary Prince The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave
Charles Ball Fifty Years in Chains Or, the Life of an American Slave
Thomas H. Jones Experience and Personal Narrative of Uncle Tom Jones; Who Was for Forty Years a Slave
Phillis Wheatley Religious and Moral Poems
William H. Robinson From Log Cabin to the Pulpit, or, Fifteen Years in Slavery
Louis Hughes Thirty Years A Slave
Elizabeth Keckley Behind the Scenes
Josiah Henson The Life of Josiah Henson
Old Elizabeth Memoir of Old Elizabeth, A Coloured Woman
Annie L. Burton Memories of Childhood's Slavery Days
Lucy A. Delaney From the Darkness Cometh the Light, or Struggles for Freedom
Lunsford Lane The Narrative of Lunsford Lane, Formerly of Raleigh, N.C.
L. S. Thompson The Story of Mattie J. Jackson