Building a Linked Open Data Platform for the study and exploration of the historical slave trade.

In recent years, a growing number of archives, databases, and collections that organize and make sense of records of enslavement have become freely and readily accessible for scholarly and public consumption. This proliferation of projects and databases presents a number of challenges: 

  • Disambiguating and merging individuals across multiple datasets is nearly impossible given their current, siloed nature;
  • Searching, browsing, and quantitative analysis across projects is extremely difficult;
  • It is often difficult to find projects and databases;
  • There are no best practices for digital data creation;
  • Many projects and datasets are in danger of going offline and disappearing.

In response to these challenges, Matrix: The Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences at Michigan State University, in partnership with the MSU Department of History and scholars at multiple institutions, has begun work on Enslaved: People of the Historic Slave Trade, a constellation of software and services built to address these challenges. Enslaved’s primary focus is people—individuals who were enslaved, owned slaves, or participated in slave trading. 

Freedom Narratives Symposium

The "Freedom Narratives" symposium, the fourth workshop of the Studies in the History of the African Diaspora Documents (SHADD) initiative (, took place on December 7-8, 2018, at the Harriet Tubman Institute at York University in Toronto. Scholars from...

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Partner Profile: Legacies of British Slave Ownership

Enslaved is excited to be working with Legacies of British Slave-ownership at University College London. Legacies researches individuals in Britain and former British colonies who owned or were otherwise associated with the ownership of the enslaved in the...

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Enslaved would not be possible without the support and input of many partner scholars, projects, and institutions. Find out more about our partners by selecting below.