The People Not Property project is a collaborative endeavor between the UNCG University Libraries, North Carolina Division of Archives and Records, and North Carolina Registers of Deeds among others. Working as an addition to and evolution of the Digital Library on American Slavery, the project is leading towards a unique, centralized database of bills of sales indexing the names of enslaved people from across North Carolina and the South.

When complete, People Not Property will include robust metadata, high resolution images, and searchable abstracts. We have opened the project to states beyond North Carolina, creating a central location for accessing and researching slave deeds from across the Southern United States.

A list of locations currently included in the project may be viewed here.

What are Slave Deeds?

"Slave deeds" are property deeds - bills of sale, deeds of trust, divisions of property - registered with county courts and registers of deeds that contain information about enslaved individuals. Sometimes these individuals are listed only by number, but more often they are listed by name and age, providing invaluable historical information for historians and genealogists.