Famous American Slaves

It is estimated that approximately 12.5 million Africans were imported via the slave trade, however, only a small percentage by comparison were shipped direct to North America.

Despite the fact that it was illegal to teach a slave to read or write in most states, some escaped and emancipated slaves published their accounts; some became abolitionists, some championed women's rights and others spent their lives and savings rescuing fellow slaves.

See below to read about famous American slaves.
Frederick Douglass
An escaped slave who gained notoriety as an abolitionist, Frederick Douglass was famed for his speech 'What to the slave is the fourth of July' and wrote numerous articles against slavery.

Harriet Jacobs
An escaped slave who spent years hiding from her lascivious master in the crawl space of her grandmother's shed; Harriet Jacobs was the first female former slave to write about the treatment that African American women had to endure.

Solomon Northup
Born free, Solomon Northup was kidnapped and illegally sold to slavers. The film '12 Years a Slave' was based upon his memoirs.

Dred Scott
A slave who filed a lawsuit against his mistress on the basis that after living in slave free states, his family should be free. The legal battle spanned a decade and the outcome was said to have contributed to the Civil War.

Sojourner Truth - The first African American woman to win a legal battle against a white man after her son was illegally sold, Sojourner Truth went on to give famous speeches such as 'Ain't I a Woman?' and supported gender and racial equality.

Harriet Tubman - As a conductor on the Underground Railroad, Harriet Tubman led thousands of slaves on foot to Canada and assisted The Union in liberating Southern slaves.


Main Menu

Famous American Abolitionists
Click here to learn about American abolitionists and their fight to end slavery.

Famous American Slaves
Visit this page to read about the ordeals of famous African American slaves and their impact on history.

Famous Slave Escapes
Visit this page to learn about some of the most daring slave escapes.

Famous Slave Rebellions
Click here to read about slave rebellions and the effects they had on nineteenth century America.

Slavery Glossary
Visit this page for definitions about slavery and abolition.

State Slave Laws
Click here to learn about the slave codes and laws governing the United States of America.