Published on June 19, 2024 by Morgan Black  

After more than a decade of work on her Enslaved People Project, Cumberland School of Law alumna Erica L. Woodford, JD ’00, announced the launch of an online database of slave records from Macon-Bibb County, Georgia. The online research portal went live in March 2024.

In 2013, Woodford, Bibb County’s superior court clerk, discovered records of slave transactions in old county deed books while conducting a routine office inventory. Soon after her discovery, Woodford partnered with Mercer University’s Department of Africana Studies and the university’s library to seek grant funding to hire and train students to help with the project. The result was a catalog of close to 1,000 deeds and other court records involving enslaved people in the area between the years of 1823 and 1865.

In a press release from Bibb County’s Office of the Superior Court, Woodford said, “The Enslaved People Project has been an ongoing labor of love for the past decade. I am so excited that we are now able to share these official court/property records with the community at large. As the first African American Superior Court Clerk in Bibb County, I am both honored and humbled to unearth these records of our rich shared history.”

Through this extensive digitization project, the public can now easily access this important data and images while also having the opportunity to view primary source documents regarding slavery.

Woodford added, “I find peace in knowing our treasure trove of records are now digitized, preserved, and stored electronically in case of disaster.”

Search the Enslaved People Project database

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