The History of Enslaved People at UA would not be possible without the decades of work on slavery at The University of Alabama undertaken, most recently, by Alfred L. BrophyHilary N. Green, and Joshua Rothman. We are also grateful to the archivists and librarians at The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections, especially Kate Matheny, for their expert guidance.

In 2004, the Faculty Senate at The University of Alabama passed a resolution "Acknowledging and Apologizing for the History of Slavery at The University of Alabama." Following a further charge by the Faculty Senate in 2018, the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion established a Task Force for Studying Race, Slavery, and Civil Rights at UA. During the academic year 2021-2022 the Task Force Research Group completed a comprehensive assessment of University of Alabama Administration Records for the period up to 1865. Part of this project was to ensure that all materials pertaining to slavery at the university were identified. Another crucial goal was to transcribe the contents of the main record sets from this time including President Basil Manly’s diaries, President Landon Garland’s letterbooks, the Faculty Minutes, and the collection most commonly referred to as the "slave receipts." Most important of all, however, was identifying as many of the enslaved individuals who labored on UA’s campus, or who were enslaved by faculty and college presidents, as possible and entering those names, and the records associated with them, in a database.

The materials presented on this website are not comprehensive. We are still in the process of researching the lives of many of the enslaved people identified in the records. Updating and revising the database is an ongoing process. Although we have worked hard to be as accurate as possible, we also know that we may have unintentionally made errors in some of the transcriptions or analysis. New information may come to light that changes our understandings of some of these sources or our knowledge of the enslaved individuals themselves. It is also important to note that while we have endeavored to include as much information about those enslaved at UA as possible, we recognize that the information we have is almost entirely filtered through the words of their white enslavers, or state institutions.

We are very grateful to Sharon Leon and the whole On These Grounds: Slavery and the University team for creating and disseminating a linked online data (LOD) model which has proven invaluable to documenting enslaved people at UA. Like OTG, we also strive "to represent the lived experiences of the enslaved people who labored for colleges and universities," and to center "enslaved lives in all aspects of our discussions and work."

Research Group members:

  • Katharine Buckley (M.A. student in Library and Information Studies)
  • Briana Weaver (Ph.D. student in History)
  • Valery West (M.A. student in Gender and Race Studies)
  • Jenny Shaw (Associate Professor of History)