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Amazing new resource for slave-era research

As of this morning, every syllabus handout The Legal Genealogist has that even remotely touches on the issue of slavery in the United States suddenly became deeper, broader and richer.

HeinOnlineAnd every single researcher and genealogist who has so much as a passing interest in the topic woke up this week with access to a truly amazing resource.

And it’s now available completely free.

HeinOnline, one of America’s premier subscription sites for legal research, has just announced that it is making access to its collection Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law available to everyone — free.

This collection, accurately described by HeinOnline as “monumental, unique, (and) culturally significant,” is truly an amazing resource for slave-era research:

Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law brings together, for the first time, all known legal materials on slavery in the United States and the English-speaking world, as well as materials on free African-Americans in the colonies and the U.S. before 1870. Included are every statute passed by every state and colony, all federal statutes, all reported state and federal cases on slavery, and hundreds of books and pamphlets on the subject. In total, the collection contains more than 1,000 titles and nearly 850,000 pages.1

The collection begins with an introduction, proceeds to list all available titles and periodicals and then provides access to all slavery-related statutes and a vast array of judicial cases, scholarly articles and other documents, a bibliography, external links and more.

In a word — it’s fabulous.

And just as fabulous is HeinOnline’s reason for making this collection available:

while the Hein Company is a for-profit corporation with fiscal responsibilities to its shareholders, its mission statement contains a number of core values, one of which is Corporate Citizenship. This means that, as a company, Hein resolves to make a positive difference in the community.


The crisis revolving around race relations in America and the recent events surrounding this crisis have made the Hein Company rethink the idea of financially profiting from the sale of a collection on slavery. As good corporate citizens, Hein realized that a unique opportunity existed to make a positive impact in our community, in our profession and very possibly in a wider arena. Therefore, the decision was made not to charge for this collection, but to provide Slavery in America and the World free to anyone with an interest in the subject: libraries, institutions, students, researchers, or any other entity within our global community. By doing this, the Hein Company will realize a different form of profit by potentially making a difference during this troubling time.


The Hein Company has always recognized the impact librarians have within their communities. Their social consciousness, their communication skills, their ability to interact in a positive fashion with young children, students of all ages, high school, college and graduate level faculty, business people, attorneys, judges and the public in general put them in a unique position to open lines of communication to address the issues Americans are faced with today. By providing complimentary access to Slavery in America and the World, a wide audience has an opportunity to be more informed about the history of slavery and the pain of racism. By using this collection, librarians can be in the forefront of a movement to help educate their communities and create an environment for open and positive dialogue, which could have a positive impact on our society and may go a long way in helping find solutions to the distressing issues confronting all of us.2


Just wow.

Now… you need to start the process of getting access to this amazing resource here on the Registration Form page. It takes several hours or an overnight to get the registration activated, but once it’s activated, you have complete access to the collection — and to some help to go along with it (training guides, videos, and more).

I can’t recommend this enough. And I can’t thank HeinOnline enough for this act of corporate citizenship.

Now excuse me please… I have an entire collection to explore…

Thanks to HeinOnline and its Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law collection.

Now available free.


  1. About Slavery in America and the World: History, Culture & Law,” HeinOnline, What’s New, 5 Oct 2016 ( : accessed 12 Oct 2016).
  2. Ibid.
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