New free database: “Enslaved: Peoples of the Historic Slave Trade”

Here is Sydney Trent at The Washington Post:

Enslaved: Peoples of the Historic Slave Trade, a free, public clearinghouse that launched Tuesday with seven smaller, searchable databases, will for the first time allow anyone from academic historians to amateur family genealogists to search for individual enslaved people around the globe in one central online location.

It launches four centuries after the first enslaved Africans arrived on the shores of the English colony of Virginia in 1619. By then, the transatlantic slave trade was already more than a century old.

Directed by data scientists at Michigan State University and four principal investigators, including Williams at U-Md., the project debuted with information about 500,000 named enslaved people and their circumstances, collected by some of the world’s foremost historians of slavery. More records of enslaved people, ethnic groups, populations and places will be entered over time as partnerships are forged with academics, archives, museums and other repositories of information.

As it evolves,, founded with a $1.5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, “will revolutionize our access to the past lives and experiences of our enslaved ancestors more dramatically and more definitively than any other research project,” said Henry Louis Gates Jr., director of the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University and a partner in the project.

Read the entire piece here.