12 Years a Slave spotlight image

Solomon Northup’s “Twelve Years a Slave” and the Slave Narrative Tradition

This essay written by a distinguished historian of American literature, gives an overview of the American slave narrative tradition, discusses five representative slave narratives, and provides a framework for cultural analysis of these works showing their intention and their arguments.

March on Washington photograph by James Karales

Created Equal

The NEH Created Equal project uses the power of documentary films to encourage public conversations about the changing meanings of freedom and equality in America. The four films that are part of this project tell the remarkable stories of individuals who challenged the social and legal status quo, from slavery to segregation.

Freedom Rider civil rights bus

Created Equal: Four films on the history of the civil rights movement

Brings four outstanding films on the long civil rights movement to communities across the United States. As part of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)’s Bridging Cultures initiative, Created Equal will encourage communities across the country to revisit the history of civil rights in America.

  • David Walker vs. John Day: Two Nineteenth-Century Free Black Men

    Created January 23, 2014
    David Walker vs. John Day: David Walker's "Appeal"

    In this lesson, students examine the contrasting view of two free black men in nineteenth century America abolitionist David Walker and black nationalist John Day. After reviewing background information and primary sources about the two polices, students will argue for or against the most beneficial policy for nineteenth-century African Americans.

    Robert Smalls

    "The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross"

    Explore the evolution of the African American people in this six-part documentary presented by Henry Louis Gates Jr. Discover the how they forged their own history, culture, and society against unimaginable odds.

    African American abolitionist David Walker born

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    September 28 1785

    Phillis Wheatley’s "Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral" published

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    September 1, 1773
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    President Barack Obama gives commendment address at Notre Dame University

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    May 17, 2009