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 Africa, North America, the Caribbean, Central America, South America and Europe came together to talk about their projects involving Digital Humanities, Public History and African diasporas. The aim of the workshop was to connect scholars working on biographical data relating to the slave trade. The symposium focused on the theoretical and methodological approaches of doing biographical research on enslaved men and women that has arisen through advances in digital humanities. The Freedom Narratives Project, which is a component of the SHADD research program, is an open source, relational database of individuals born in West Africa during the era of slavery in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The related website,, was formally launched at the symposium by Project Director, Paul Lovejoy, and Project Coordinator, √Črika Melek Delgado. The Project is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The website was developed at the Matrix Center for Digital Humanities and Social Science at Michigan State University and is part of the Mellon-funded initiative, “Enslaved: People of the Historic Slave Trade” (