This bibliography is primarily for references that are pre-1880. These books and journals are mostly from GoogleBooks, for which links to one or more of complete books, journals or complete volumes scanned are provided. For the most part these are links to free eReads and/or downloads. Some books may be from At the beginning of various sections the query for effective searches and a few helpful educational links are included as well. Most links will bring you to the page(s) in the middle of the text related to the topic of Slavery, African and African American history that was reviewed.

There has been much research done and published on Africans and the history of slavery, manumission, and emancipation in the United States. What often is lacking is a sufficient amount of coverage on the original writings on this topic, in particular related to health and medicine.

From the point of view of religious leaders and certain cultural groups in the colonies and United States, slavery was a moral problem.

In terms of local history, as early as 1802, there was was quite an argument underway about the rights of negroes, manumission and slavery. In the state of New York, this politics had a series of clearly defined accusations posted regularly in the local newspaper concerning the ownership or possession of African people. The Balance and Columbian Repository published in Hudson, New York, a city or anti-federalists and to some extent anti-democrats, stated quite clearly the local peoples’ anti-slavery point of view. Its entire first year of publication fully covered the anti-Jeffersonian, anti-Clinton, anti-Livingston beliefs that local had about this extremely money driven series of business related ventures requiring slaves for the plantations and farms to the south, a domestic servants for the local mansions that were built. These events led to some very sensitive and highly opinionated months of election, which lasted for most of the year due to mid-year and typical fall time election periods. Such political tensions in fact led to dire consequences for a very popular General in this country, when Alexander Hamilton lost his life to Aaron Burr due to a duel that erupted following several months of private and well detailed political arguments published about Burr’s reputation and attitude.

For the next 50 years no real changes were made in the American practice of slavery, except with regard to the increased industrialization of the southern farming states and the development of a race-centered argument on the appropriateness of slave related practices. A consequence of the Erasmus Darwinian-Lamarckian philosophy was the belief in latitude-defined or climatic zone defined beliefs about where certain people could live. Due to their heritages, Africans were considered very capable of surviving in the warmer latitudes of the States, and the reliance upon farm-generated products from this part of the United States gave many an argument for why slaves were essential to the economy of this region. By 1840, this argument had matured enough to serve as a very effective method for arguing the need for ongoing slave practices in the south. The major complaint developed by then was the inefficiency of their work efforts at times, a problem that led to the publishing of an important series of business and legal ethics books and state law pamphlets on the legalities of practicing slavery and punishing slaves.

Historical writings also provide us with some very important word and pictures with insights into what was happening during this period in American history at the household level. African, African American, West Indies, Slavery or Plantation, and African American Citizens Medicine are quite different from one another, and this knowledge of cultural differences between young slaves acquired was never on the minds of the buyers in Africa, or their customers on another continent. For this reason, various African families were divided or otherwise separated from one another, resulting in the loss of some traditions at the expense of learning and practicing some others.

We see this in part as the African tradition of Odi gets transformed into its Caribbean equivalent voodoo. We also have to remember several things about African traditional medicine–many of the plants are highly toxic, and some plants and/or practices of their use were brought to the New World. In places where equivalent toxins existed, old traditions were reborn, like the use of local plants and other natural products to create the culturally-linked zombie state. Indirectly, African culture and migration into the Caribbean encouraged the ongoing botanical explorations then taking place. We find the results of these published between 1805 and 1830, predominantly, with the best unbiased cultural writings appearing during the years of cultural-ethnobotanical naivety on behalf of the writers, namely the years prior to about 1820.

Going back to the medical geographic concept of sequent occupancy, the sequent occupancy pattern of Africans is unchanged, for African Americans/African Slaves has a tradition upbringing but a post-industrial slavery touch to this history, due to an early pioneer and farming stage of development followed by their American experience within the plantation setting. A manumitted African/African American of the early 1800s underwent much the same sequent occupancy sequences as any other settler.

This sequent occupancy take on the means for living in turn has its links to epidemiological transition in that it provides us a much more detailed rendering of how disease, health and medicine change as a part of the African/African American lifestyle. (For all of the above, the same goes for West Indies lifestyles and slavery as well.)

In terms of major periods in history, the following seem to stand out during the course of this review of this African American/West Indies/Slavery Medicine bibliography:

1. The Pre-colonial, West Indies, and traditional African Period, with slavery

2. The early post-1800 period of development

3. The 1830-1845, pre-Abolitionist, Colonial Liberia Movement period

4. The 1845-1864 Pre-Civil War, Emancipation/Abolitionist, Industrial Plantation period

If one reviews the items in the following bibliography (link are attached to all of them), distinct differences can be seen in terms of writing content, meaning, emotions and human spirit. The history of slavery essentially defines the history of medicine for the United States negro cultures.

Going back to the philosophy and outline first dictated for studying cultural and geographic medicine in 1720 by geographer Johanne Christoph Homann (as seen in his work on Geographic Medicine), there were four aspects of Africa, Africans, West India and West Indians and Medicine that have to taken into account to fully understand the North American, United States histories of these fields of study:

a. Cultural medicine and the anthropological perspective
b. Place and health, or the role of place in disease development
c. The impact of African/West Indies culture on interpretations of local plants used as medicines
d. The impact of African/West Indies geosophic beliefs

Item a. pertains to culturally-bound and culturally-linked disease patterns and disease-related, disease-invoking human behaviors. It also related to the common human perspective about lifestyles, knowledge and health. Racism and race-related movements are linked directly to this part of the human psychology. African and Caribbean cultures have strong traditional, Christian, and Muslim histories.

Item b. pertains to the role of latitude in much of the pro-and anti-slavery movement, and the various diseases physicians linked to lifestyle practices, such as occupational history, method of home or shelter building and maintenance, domestic lifestyle, eating styles and diets, cleanliness and sanitation practices, etc.

Item c. pertains to the work of late 18th and early 18th Century American medical botanists, especially those practicing between 1800 and 1825. It also relates to the foreign herbal medicines identified early on in the southern hemisphere explorations, plants which became popular only recently, but have been known since the first exploratory periods.

Item d. pertains to the Africa/West Indies-American religious cultures, philosophies and traditions, with emphasis on place and its importance. Place serves a role in cultural development, and places with cultural foci developed have local materials and places that obtain special meaning for these local groups, such as the role of certain plants and animals in the Louisiana Creole culture or the impact of local plants and animals of the practice of voodoo.

The following books depict the background history for these sorts of contemporary African/West Indies-American socioeconomic and medical settings formed in the United States. This sort of study reviews medicine both anthropologically, culturally and ethnically, as well as in terms of “modern” or western medical philosophy and traditions.

Web and Google Book Searches

Slavery Image Database.

African Slavery Map (Google Images Search)

Crania Americana Map (Google Images Search)

Crania Americana Google Search

Google book search for: African Slavery United States Disease Medicine Slavery. 1800-1825.

Google Book Search for: African Slavery United States Disease

Google Book Search for: African Slavery United States Disease.

Google Book Search for: African Slavery United States Health

Google Book search for: African Slavery U.S. Diseases

Google Book Search for: African American Slavery, 1750-1800.

Google Book Search: African Slavery Virginia 1766 (regarding Thomas Jefferson and James River Ringworm)



Encyclopedia Americana. Vol. 11. Slavery, Slavery of the Whites. pp. 429-439-441.

Encyclopedia Metropolitana. . . . 1845. p. 194. “Africa”

The Popular Encyclopedia, vol. 6. pp. 279-286. Apparently a duplicate of Encyclopedia Americana above.

The Geography of Slavery (Teachers’ Site)

The 1705 Virginia Slave’s Act. (Website)

Martha W. McCartney. 2003. A Study of Africans and African Americans on Jamestown Island and at Green Spring 1619-1803. Colonial National Historical Park, National Park Service, US Department of the Interior. Prepared by Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

Kasey McCarthy. The Slave Trade. (website.)

Joseph E. Holloway. African Contributions to American Culture. The Slave Rebellion Website.


John Dunwoody Brownson De Vow. De Bow’s Commercial View of the South and West. pp. 169-172. Canada, the West Indies and Slavery; very early 1800s, with demographic info.

Robert Montgomery Martin. The British Colonies, their History, Extent, Condition and Resources. v. 7. Begin with pp. 66-70 on slavery history up to 1805.

George Bancroft. ca1840. History of the United States of America. vol. 1, p. 538-544. 1727/8 event entry.

Emma Willard. History of the United States. The Slave Ships.


Olaudah Equiano. Brief biography

Abolition of the Slave Trade. Exhibit/Researcher’s Bibliography.

Pre-1800, mostly Africa and the West Indies

Considerations on the African Trade. 1750.

Allegmaines Repertorium der Literatur. Another: … fur die Jahres 1785 bis 1790. A German reference book, but bibliographical and with a listing of the first books and essays published on slavery (with English titles).

Some Historical Account of Guinea, its Situation, Produce and the General Disposition of its Inhabitants. With an Inquiry into the Rise and Progress of the Slave Trade. Griffin. A Plan for Abolition of Slavery in the West Indies. Two Book Reviews in The Critical Review of Annals of Literature, ed. by Tobias Smollett. pp. 418-420.

Abbe Guillaum-Thomas-Francois Raynal. 1783. A Philosophical and Political History of the Settlements and Trades of the East and West Indies. J. O. Justamaud (translator).

St. George Tucker (Professor of Law and General Court Judge, William and Mary College). A Dissertation on Slavery. 1795.

Slavery in General (Examples of Important Topics)

Benjamin Godwin. 1830. The Substance of a Course of Lectures on British Colonial Slavery.

Josiah Priest. 1843. Slavery as it relates to the Negro or African Race. Much religious content.

The Honduras Gazette and Commercial Advertiser. 1827.

The Spectator, March 9, 1839. Mr. Buxton’s African Slave Trade. pp. 231-2.

Thomas Price. Slavery in America vol. 1, July 1836. Overall, this is a good read. Page 253 has brief section on disease and slavery.

The African Repository and Colonial Journal, vol. 7. 1831. An exemplary journal.

Allan Pollock. A Practical Treatise on the Law of Slavery. 1837. An overview on this topic (more below in sections on politics, government, legal issues, rights, etc.).

The Annual Review of History of Literature, vol. 2. See pp. 32-35 Thomas Winterbottom’s An Account of the Native Africans in Neighborhood of Sierra Leone, to which is added an account of the Present State of Medicine among them, and pp. 721-3 Practical Rules for the Treatment of Negro Slaves.

Edward Clifford Holland. A Refutation of the Calumnies circulated against the Southern and Western States respecting the institution and existence of Slavery amongst them, to which is added a minute and particular account of the actual state of the condition of their Negro population. . . by a South-Carolinian. Charleston, 1822.

Narratives, Slave

Abigal Mott (1766-1851). National endowment for the Humanities sponsored scanned book.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, An American Slave. Written by Himself. . 6ed. 1851.

Henry Bibb. Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American Slave. Written by Himself. With an introduction by Lucius C. Matrlack.. 1850.

Narratives, by Travelers, Adventurers, Explorers, and Government

William Starbuck Mayo. Kaloolah, or Journeyings to the Djebel Kumri. An Autobiography of Jonathan Romer. 1850.

J. B. Douville. Voyage au Congo . . . (Book Review, in two parts.) pp. 194, 248. The Nautical Magazine, vol. 1.

Francis Hall. Travels in Canada and the United States, 1817 and 1817. The Literary Panorama. 1819. Part 2 of article, continued from p. 685, pp. 836- Mentions Clay Pica in this article.

Capt. John Gabriel Stedman. Narrative of a five-year expedition against the revolted negroes of Surinam, in Guinea, on the Wild Coast of South America, from the year 1772 to 1777. vol. 2.

Horatio Bridge. Journal of an African Cruiser. 1845.

Sir Charles Lyell. A Second Visit to the United States of North America. Chapter XIX, beg. p. 251. Discussion of southern negroes, slavery relationships in the US.

The Christian Treasury. Voyages and Travels of a Bible. Chapter VII. Remarkable History of an African Slave. pp. 609-612.

Charles Rockwell. Sketches of Foreign Travel and Life at Sea . . . 1849. p. 253 has Liberia; discussion of slave ship confiscated.

Joseph Sturge. A Visit to the United States in 1841. 1842. North versus south with regard to the slaves is discussed in appendix L beginning around cxiii.

Edmund Roberts. 1837. Embassy to the Eastern Courts of Cochin-China, Siam and Muscat. . ..

F. Harrison Rankin. 1836. The White Man’s Grave; a visit to Sierra Leone, 1834. v. 2 only.

Africa, African Exploration

A Geographical Survey of Africa. 1840.

The Friend of Africa. 1842.

Josiah Conder. The Modern Traveler. 1830. In 30 vols., v. 22. A Description, Geographical, Historical and topographical of the Various Countries of the Globe.

William Holt Yates. The modern condition and history of Egypt: Its Climate, Diseases . . . vol. 2. Chapter X. begins with section on Negro Slavery.

William F. Daniell. Sketches of the Medical Topography and Native Diseases of the Coast of Guinea, Western African. London Medical Examiner, 1850, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 33-34.

Archibald Alexander. A History of Colonization of the Western Coast of Africa. 1834.

Missionary Register, vol. 17. 1829. Monrovia/Liberia (Young Christians) and Gnadenthal (Moravian). pp. 355-8.

The Annual Report of the American Colonization Society. vols. 34-42. 1850-1863.

Edward Everett. Colonization and Civilization of Africa. 16 Jan. 1832 speech to Colonization Society. In Orations and Speeches on Various Occasions.

African Anthropology and Culture

The African Repository, vol. 19. 1843. “Colored Population, &c.”.

Reverend Mr. Crooley. Report of the Kroo People. In Report of the Secretary of State . . . Ralph Randolph Gurley. ed.. pp. 57-61.

Of the Board of Managers of the American Colonization Society to its Auxiliary Societies. The African Repository and Colonial Journal. Vol. 7, no. 10. Dec. 1831. pp. 289-300. This Journal is full of information.

Joseph Beldam. The Foreign Slave Trade. . . London, 1837. An expose.

John Carrol Brent. Leaves from an African Journal. May 1849. The Knickerbocker. pp. 399-409.

Richard de Gumblepon Daunt. On Ethnological Science in its Relations to Medicine and Physiology. The Medical Times. Vol. 14, August 1846. 350-2. Followed by description of uterine disease as a result of absorption of miasmatic poisoning.

James Cowles Prichard. Researches into the Physical History of Mankind. 4ed, vol. 1. 1841.
Natural History

The Cyclopedia of Practical Medicine, vol. 4. Temperament discussion begins on page 159. This discussion has African American coverage, with particular mention of Native American bradycardia as well, first noted by Benjamin Rush (p. 165, column 2); this latter relates to the history of New World Syndrome.

J. H. Geunebault. 1837. The Natural History of the Negro Race.


African American Exhibit. Government project.

Anthropometry – wikipedia.

Samuel George Morton. Crania American, or a comparitif view of the skulls of various aboriginal Nations of North and South America. Reprint of Book Review published in American Journal of Science and Arts, v. 2, no. 38.

Catalogue of Skulls of Man and the Inferior Animals in the Collection of Samuel George Morton. 3ed. 1849.

Morality and Ethics, and Slavery

James Stephen. 1826. England Enslaved by Her own Slave Colonies.

Daniel Reaves Goodloe. Inquiry into the causes which have retarded the accumulation of wealth and increase of Population in the Southern States, in which the Question of Slavery is considered in a Politico-Economical Point of View by a Carolinian. 1846. A twenty-five page essay followed by The Southern Platform of Manual of Southern Sentiment on the Subject of Slavery. 1858.

Slaves Shipping

The Spirit of the Age. Slave Vessels. July 21, 1849. p. 39. Describes the condition of a ship that was captured off West Africa.

Scenes on Board a Captured Slaver. Chambers Journal. 1844. pp. 152-154.

Nile’s National Register, vol. 34. Aug. 29, 1828. “The Slave Trade” pp. 386-7.

House of Lords, Sessional Papers, 1831. Numerous accounts of Slave Vessels stopped, their conditions, their number of passengers, disease.

Slave Trade

Sir Thomas Fowell Buxton. The African Slave Trade and its Remedy Abridged ed., 2ed. 1840. Another copy. Book Review in the Eclectic Review, vol. 70, p. 306.

Thomas Richard H. Thompson. The Brazilian Slave Trade and its Remedy. 1850.

The Examiner, Issue 934, Part 87. Letter to the editor: a reader’s commentary on slavery and children put up for purchase in the West Indies.


The New Monthly Review, p. 64. Fernando Po. Slaves and Yellow Fever.

Sir William Burnet. Report on the Principal Diseases and Climate of the African Station. and several other books reviewed. The London Lancet. p. 96.

Google Image Search: African Worms.

Blanka Havlickova, Viktor A Czaika, and Marcus Freidrich. Epidemiological Trends in Skin Mycoses Worldwide. Mycoses, 51 (Suppl.4): 2-15.

Aditya K. Gupta, Maria Chaudhry, Boni Elewski. Tinea corpus, Tinea crucea, Tinea nigra and piedra. Dermatol Clinic 21. 2003 (395-400).

Sickness at Sea

Sickness of the Hornet’s Crew. Nile’s Register. Sept. 28, 1822. pp. 57-60. Probably Yellow Fever. The irony here is that natives on board slave vessels seemed immune to the tropical diseases of yellow fever and malaria, but the ship’s crew was not. The main problems slaves had pertained to living quarters and limited food and space.

Settlements and Health

Report of the Select Committee on the West Coast of Africa. . . 5 August 1842. Parliamentary Papers, vol. 12. Page 96 is on Health of Settlements.

Character and Influence of the Colonization Society. The African Repository and Colonial Journal, vol. 7. 1831. An important health and geography writing example, with relationship between latitude and health mentioned on p. 198. Slaves removing back to Africa to settle in Liberia suffered more if they were from the Middle to Northern States.

Plantations and Health

Christopher C. Yates. 1832. Observations on the Epidemic now prevailing in the City of New York; called the Asiatic or Spasmodic Cholera, with Advice to the Planters of the South for the medical treatment of their Slaves.

Mulattoes and Health

The Dublin Literary Journal and Select Family History. 198-202.

Political History

Major Ricketts. 1831. Narrative of the Ashantee War.


Liberia. 1832. The Penny Magazine of the Society of America for the Diffusion of Knowledge. p. 267.

The African Repository and Colonial Journal. 1847.

Cyril Pearl. 1833. Remarks on African Colonialization and the Abolition of Slavery, Issue 7. . . By A Citizen of New England..

Rev. William Tobey. An Address delivered before the Honesdale Colonization Society, at Honesdale, on the Evening of July 8th, 1839. Methodist Review, vol 22, pp. 387-400.

Reprint of Book Review for: W. Innes. Liberia or the Early History and signal Preservation of the American Colony of free Negroes on the Coast of Africa. In Museum of Foreign Literature, Science and Art. vol. 19, pp. 709-711.

Thomas Cilaven Brown. Examination of Mr. Thomas C. Brown, a free colored citizen of South Carolina. About Liberian health.

Medical Department of the National Institute. BMSJ 30(19), June 1844; pp. 371-5. On May 1st, 1844, James Day reported on the health of Liberia. This was shared with the Boston Medical Surgical Journal and the report then published.

Colony of Liberia in Africa. The Gentleman’s Magazine. Dec. 1831. vol. 101, pp. 546-549. (With map on p. 547.)

Samuel Griswold Goodrich. A System of School Geography chiefly derived from Malte-Brun. 11ed. 1835. See p. 195, Item “192. Liberia.”

John Roberts Tyson. A Discourse before the Young Men’s Colonization Association of Pennsylvania. 1834.

Address of the Board of Managers of the American Colonization Society, and it Auxiliary Societies. 1831.

American Colonization Society (article). The Missionary Herald at Home and Abroad. Oct. 1831. pp. 329-331.

Monrovia Liberia Map. Google Image Search.

The North American Review. 1832. Vol. 35. See pp. 118, 162.

Benjamin Morrell. 1832. A Narrative of four voyages to the South Sea, north and South Pacific Ocean . ..

African Colonization. Proceedings of the New York Colonization Society. 1831.


Western Africa, considered as a field for American Missions. The Christian Advocate. vol. 11, Aug 1833. pp. 377-380.

Legal Debates

Report of the debates and the proceedings for the convention for the revision of the Constitution of the state of Kentucky. 1849. Slavery is discussed on 923-927.

General Report of the Emigration Commissioners. In this report by the Commissioners of Great Britain, date November 2, 1842, the commissioner states that Great Britain has been anti-slavery for 50 years. The details of these fifty years are provided, beginning p. 437.

Ralph Randolph Gurley. 1841. Letter to the Honorable Henry Clay...

Slavery in America

Slavery and the Internal Slave Trade in the United States of North America. 1841.

Robert McManus. 1966. A History of Negro Slavery in New York.

Slave Grown Sugar. The Christian Remembrancer. Oct. 1846. Pages 326 – . This is from a review of three books on Brazilian plantation history. The article provides an extensive review of the history and activities of this plantation industry and the related missionary activities.

Congressional Review. Speech of Mr. Clay. The American Whig Review. 1850. pp. 99-106.

Mr. Rusk and Mr. E.C.Cabell. The Slave Question. February and March, 1850. The Congressional Globe. pp. 237-242. Numerous other items noted.

Defenses of Slavery

Matthew Estes. 1846. A Defence of Negro Slavery, as it Exists in the United States.

Address of the Southern Delegates to their Constituents Massachusetts Quarterly Review. Sept. 1849. pp. 487-513. Recent Defenses of Slavery.


Robert James Turnbull. 1827. The Crisis, or Essays on the Usurpations of the Federal Government by Brutus.

The Millennial Harbinger, vol. 1. Virginia, 1830. pp. 36-37. Kentucky Anti-slavery.

The Literary Gazette and Journal of the Belles Lettres, Arts and Sciences. No. 1048. Feb. 18, 1837. Sermons, Preached at the British Episcopal Church, Rotterdam. Rev. C. R. Muston. pp. 111-112. Page 112 has lengthy anti-slavery sermon quote.

Frederick Freedom. A plea for Africa, being familiar conversations on the subject of slavery. 3ed. 1838.

New Church Herald and Monthly Repository. 1851. Page 242 has a Swedenborgian take on anti-slavery based on New Jerusalem teachings.


Memorial of the Society of Friends in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware Praying The Adoption of Measures for the Suppression of the African Slave Trade. May 27, 1840. Congressional Edition,vol. 360. pp. 143-5.

Thomas C Thornton. 1841. An Inquiry into the History of Slavery.

The Philadelphia Free Produce Association of Friends. An Address to our fellow members of the Religious Society of Friends, on the Subject of Slavery and the Slave Trade. 1849.

African Immigration Influence

On Sesamum or Bene Plant. Second paragraph: “It is highly probable that the Sesamum plant was introduced into South Carolina and Georgia, by the African negroes imported at an early period . . . ” The American Farmer, April 23, 1824. p. 37-8.


The African Repository and Colonial Journal. vol. 7, 1831. p. 131. Counts of Slaves per state in the New England-Mid-atlantic area.

American Quarterly Review, vol. 7. June 1830. Statistical Account of the Ever Faithful Island of Cuba. pp. 475 – .

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