Historian Greg O’Malley awarded ACLS grant to expand Intra-American Slave Trade Database

Project to include lesson plans to help K-12 and university instructors incorporate slave trade database into curricula

UC Santa Cruz Associate Professor of History Gregory O'Malley
UC Santa Cruz associate professor of history Gregory O'Malley
Overview of the slave trade out of Africa (courtesy of Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave T

Overview of the slave trade out of Africa, 1500-1900 (courtesy of Voyages: The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database).

UC Santa Cruz associate history professor Gregory O’Malley has received a 2020 Digital Extension Grant of $150,000 from The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) to expand coverage of the Intra-American Slave Trade Database. 

This expansion will include adding data and materials on 19th-century forced movement of enslaved people born in America, as well as lesson plans to help K-12 and university instructors incorporate the database into curricula.

The ACLS program is designed to help advance the digital transformation of humanities scholarship by extending the reach of existing digital projects and adding diversity to the digital record.

“At a time when difficult but much needed conversations are dominating the national discourse and as we continue to traverse this new era of social distancing, ACLS is proud to support advances in digital research and scholarly communication that can contribute positively on both fronts,” noted ACLS President Joy Connolly. 

“Thanks to the generosity of the Mellon Foundation, these vital, cutting-edge projects will pursue important research while expanding access to digital resources among a variety of new communities. This program exemplifies our commitment to serving a broad spectrum of learners and diversifying humanistic scholarship.”

O’Malley noted that The Intra-American Slave Trade Database currently documents more than 11,500 trading voyages that forcibly moved enslaved people from one part of the Americas to another. The database is freely accessible online for the use of academic researchers, students, and the general public.

“The project includes voyages as far north as Newfoundland and as far south as Argentina, with coverage focused on trafficking African-born individuals in the 17th and 18th centuries. With the Digital Extension Grant, we will collaborate with additional scholars at different career stages to expand coverage of the database into the 19th century and to include the trafficking of enslaved people born in the Americas.”

“This expansion will focus particular attention on the domestic slave trades of the United States and Brazil,” O’Malley added. “We will also increase the utility of the database for classrooms by working with educators to create sample lesson plans using the database.”

O’Malley is the author of Final Passages: The Intercolonial Slave Trade of British America, 1619-1807, a 2015 book that has won multiple awards for helping to redraw the map of the forced African migration during the slave trade era.

Formed in 1919, the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) is a nonprofit federation of 75 scholarly organizations. As a preeminent representative of American scholarship in the humanities, the ACLS holds a core belief that knowledge is a public good.