Free at Last? Slavery in Pittsburgh in the 18th & 19th Centuries

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The papers reveal a past of local slave trading and slaveholding. In the years following the Revolutionary War, some of the region’s most prominent leaders were slaveholders: Isaac Craig, John and Presley Neville, John McKee—names that live on to identify the area’s towns and streets. The documents, as you will see in the links to the right, are written in highly embellished penmanship and a flowery prose style. They are faded, with the occasional ink splotch or scratched out word. The revelations in these accounts, together with other such documentation as slave registries, census records, history books, and slaves’ own writings, unlock a forgotten history of the Pittsburgh region.


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