Selected African-American Resources Unique to The Filson Library
Eastern Cemetery Burial Records, 1844-1949
When it was established in 1844, about three acres were set aside for burials of free blacks and slaves. As the cemetery expanded, other segregated lots and public burial areas were created. The Filson Library has all of the surviving records of Eastern Cemetery for the period 1844 - 1949. Records include lists of interments, public burials, purchase of burial lots, and maps.
Greenwood Cemetery Burial Records, 1898-1949
Established as an African-American cemetery c. 1898. The Filson Library has all of the surviving records of Greenwood Cemetery for the period 1898 - 1949. Records include lists of interments, public burials, and purchases of burial lots.
St. Paul (Minnesota) Western Appeal, 1885-1893
Weekly African-American newspaper published in St. Paul, Minnesota, by John Q. Adams, the son of Louisville Baptist pastor Henry Adams. Because of the younger Adams's ties to Louisville, he devoted a column to social events in Louisville's African-American community.
Indianapolis Freeman, 1886-1916
African-American weekly newspaper which gave detailed coverage to events in Kentucky's African-American communities.
History of the United Brothers of Friendship and the Sisters of the Mysterious Ten
By William H. Gibson, 1897. Part 2 is an autobiography (Gibson came to Louisville from Baltimore in 1847) and a history of Louisville's early African-American community.
Freedmen's Savings and Trust Company Deposit Records, 1866-1874
These records of deposit at the Lexington and Louisville branches contain much valuable genealogical information for each depositor, such as birthplace, age, relatives, residence, former slaveowner (where applicable), etc. There are hundreds of African-American depositors on record, including many who were serving in the U.S. Colored Troops.
American Freedmen's Inquiry Commission Records, 1863-1865
This commission reported on conditions among enslaved and free African-Americans throughout the South. The final report became the basis for what became known as Reconstruction policy. These records consist of reports and testimony by many different individuals, including slaves, free blacks, soldiers, and slaveowners.
Slave Importation Book, Adams County, Mississippi (Natchez), 1857-1860
This valuable county record was discovered in the Adams County courthouse in February 1999. We have recently purchased a microfilm copy. The record lists the name (sometimes including a surname), physical description and age, and state and county of origin of every enslaved African-American taken to Natchez and sold during this period. Most of the persons listed were from Kentucky, and there are hundreds of names listed, mostly from Jefferson, Fayette, and Shelby counties. An index is available.
The Filson Historical Society