Website Review

The Abolition of Slavery Project

MLA East of England

The Abolition of Slavery Project is an excellent repository for teaching tools, primary sources, and descriptions of the period of enslavement and abolition movement in the British colonies—specifically the work of Thomas Clarkson. This project was funded by the MLA East of England, and was worked on by a project team consisting of Lesley Walker (Heritage Learning Consultant) and Dale Banham (Humanities Adviser) in consultation with Del White. Many other groups made this project possible through digitization efforts, piloting material, and contributing to teaching modules, and their acknowledgements can be found here.

This website has a variety of ways to study enslavement, including a timeline of enslavement in the British colonies, descriptions of the resistance to enslavement, including case studies of various rebellions and how the abolition movement was conducted, and descriptions of abolitionist and abolitionist groups. It supplements these broad descriptions with primary sources that are linked back to a repository on a different section of the site. These primary sources include narratives and accounts from enslaved people, enslavers, and abolitionists, drawings of plantations or people from the period, speeches, advertisements, photographs of artifacts and more.

In addition to these broad chronicles of enslavement, the website also includes access to teaching modules. These modules are linked to the National Curriculum Programmes of Study and QCA Schemes of Work, and describe lessons and activities that can be done at a variety of levels to teach enslavement. Many teaching modules also link back to interactive tools that could be used to display sources, but due to recent changes in programs that are supported and the outdated nature of the site, some of these tools are no longer available. However, the sources uploaded to the site itself are still available, and allow for teaching modules to still have clear purposes and potential for continued use. An integral part of the modules is source analysis, and discussions which allow students to engage not just with history as it is being explained to them, but as critical thinkers who are able to make their own interpretations about the past.

Overall, this site is good for an introduction in the history of enslavement in British colonies, and engaging with sources related to that period as well as the psat in general. By breaking up the site into different areas of focus, such as enslavement itself and abolition, it allows itself to be easily navigable by students and scholars alike. Scholars may find this useful for obtaining primary sources, where students may find more use in the broad overviews in enslavement as they begin their studies into this area of history.

Reviewed by Carolyn Mason, George Mason University

How to Cite This Source

"The Abolition of Slavery Project," in in World History Commons, [accessed August 9, 2022]
Drawing of two men, with a white man that is presumably Thomas Clarkson in the foreground, and a black man in the background. They are both dressed in colonial-era clothing.
“By breaking up the site into different areas of focus, such as enslavement itself and abolition, it allows itself to be easily navigable by students and scholars alike. ”