Slavery's Explosive Growth, in Charts: How '20 and Odd' Became Millions

A twist of fate brought the first Africans to Virginia in 1619. See how slavery grew in the U.S. over two centuries.

These Maps Reveal How Slavery Expanded Across the United States

As the hunger for more farmland stretched west, so too did the demand for enslaved labor.
Drawing of a Black man in court pleading with a judge in 1741.

Was the Conspiracy That Gripped New York in 1741 Real?

Rumors that enslaved Black New Yorkers were planning a revolt spread across Manhattan even more quickly than the fires for which they were being blamed.
1825 painting of a white man kissing a Black woman, and a white man whipping a Black man.

Jefferson’s Secret Plan to Whiten Virginia

Jefferson’s system depended on shoring up the bulwarks of race and basing the law on a theory of government that withdrew protection from unfavored groups.
Newspaper lithograph of people fleeing the yellow fever epidemic on a boat in Mississippi.

The Sick Society

The story of a regional ruling class that struck a devil’s bargain with disease, going beyond negligence to cultivate semi-annual yellow fever epidemics.
Redlined street map of the Baltimore area.

The Mapping of Race in America

Visualizing the legacy of slavery and redlining, 1860 to the present.
A page of the census documenting the enslaved people of John Hopkins, 1850.

Owner? Yes. Enslaver? Certainly.

Another chance to examine the terms we use and why they matter.
tattered Texas state flag

An Honest History of Texas Begins and Ends With White Supremacy

One Texas Republican state House member wants to create a “patriotic” education project to celebrate the Lone Star State—and whitewash its ugly past.
A home in Paramus, New Jersey.

Slavery's Legacy Is Written All Over North Jersey, If You Know Where to Look

New Jersey was known as the slave state of the North, and our early economy was built on unpaid labor.
Collage of maps representative of the project

Southern Journey: The Migrations of the American South 1790-2020

The maps embrace everyone —free and enslaved, from the first national census of the late 18th century to the sophisticated surveys of the early 21st century.
Illustration of a bald eagle menacing a black parent and child in front of what appears to be a government building

Circulating the Facts of Slavery

How the American Anti-Slavery Almanac became an influential best seller.

‘The Lehman Trilogy’ and Wall Street’s Debt to Slavery

If the play holds up a mirror to our moment, it is by registering slavery in a peripheral glance only to look away.

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Hand-Drawn Infographics of African-American Life (1900)

The visualizations condense an enormous amount of data into a set of aesthetically daring and easily digestible visualisations.

Slavery, Democracy, and the Racialized Roots of the Electoral College

The Electoral College was created to help white Southerners maintain their disproportionate influence in national governance.

Borderland Stories

What we remember when we remember the Alamo.
Railroad Station next to a single track

“For the Purpose of Appointing Vigilance Committees:” Fearing Abolitionists in Central Virginia

Newspaper announcements from 1859 reveal how some Richmond slaveholders organized to protect the institution of slavery.
Painting of British soldiers surrendering their arms to George Washington.

The Yorktown Tragedy: Washington's Slave Roundup

History books remember Yorktown as a "victory for the right of self-determination." But the battle guaranteed slavery for nearly another century.
Chart of Black Population by state in 1860.

Black Population by State, 1790–2019

A Flourish data visualisation by Bill Black.
Harriet Tubman and Elizabeth Keckley over a map of Washington DC.

How Black Women Brought Liberty to Washington in the 1800s

A new book shows us the capital region's earliest years through the eyes and the experiences of leaders like Harriet Tubman and Elizabeth Keckley.
John C. Calhoun

American Heretic, American Burke

A review of Robert Elder's new biography of John C. Calhoun.