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Heinz center gets 56 original slavery documents

| Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2007

The Heinz History Center has received several documents detailing the emancipation and indenture of slaves in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.

The county's Recorder of Deeds on Tuesday handed over 56 original papers for preservation and study at the center.

The so-called freedom papers were discovered by a supervisor at the county office. On the referenced page of an 1816 deed book, he found a document declaring that a man was setting free a 14-year-old slave girl on the condition she "faithfully bind herself" to his family until she was 28.

Another staffer was then asked to review all deed books from 1788 through 1865, the year of emancipation, and he found 56 original papers of emancipation or indenture for black slaves.

The Heinz History Center will preserve the documents in humidity- and climate-controlled storage and will be available for research and study at its archives. Digitized versions will be available at the Recorder of Deeds office.

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