Project Director: Henry B. Lovejoy
The most fascinating historical evidence these courts produced were registers of Liberated Africans. These records amount to descriptive lists of people physically removed from slave ships, or captured close to the African coast. The worldwide collection amounts to detailed records for over 100,000 individuals. The data includes their African names, aliases, age, sex, height, a brief physical description, among other details worthy of historical analysis. Beyond doubt, the scale of record-keeping in multiple languages enables an unprecedented analysis of: 1) a major branch of the African diaspora; 2) the socio-economic development of the Caribbean; 3) slavery as a crime against humanity; 4) a global human rights movement; and 5) complex meanings associated with "identity", "slavery", "indentured servitude", and "freedom". The need for collaborative research related to the global diaspora of Africans and their descendants is challenging because the documentation is extensive, multilingual, and scattered around the world in hundreds of archives, libraries, churches, courthouses, government offices, museums, ports and personal collections. The overall aim of this project is to bring together as much data as possible regarding the transnational links between these international courts and piece together the lives of over 250,000 Liberated Africans.