1 Reply Latest reply on Jun 2, 2021 12:20 PM by Jason Atkinson

    Seeking records about Navy's use of slaves to build Pensacola Navy Yard

    Katrina Jackson Newbie

      I would appreciate any information about the US Navy's use of slaves to build Pensacola Navy Yard, names of slaveowners who rented out their slaves to the Government, what the Naval reservation conditions were, pictures if there are any.  I have traced my family back to the early 1800s as residents on the Naval reservation Pensacola. I have oral history that my ancestors were forced to live there and work as slaves to build the Naval yard for the US Government. I have read documentation that states the US rented slaves to build the Yard. The oral history I have contradicts in this way: The records state that the US rented slaves from Pensacola slave owners. Oral history states my ancestors were NOT slaves or owned by anyone. They were indigenous to the area and forced to work as slaves.  They are listed as living on the naval reservation from 1860-1930 census records. Naval history does not record use of slaves past the Civil War, so how/why are my ancestors still living on the reservation.  When the Navy needed the land the reservation was located on, my ancestors were kicked off. But the 1930 census has my great-grandmother owning the home she lived in on the reservation. Did the Navy give them the land as oral history states and then take it back from them without compensation? Any help is appreciated!

        • Re: Seeking records about Navy's use of slaves to build Pensacola Navy Yard
          Jason Atkinson Ranger

          Dear Ms. Jackson,


          Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


          We searched the National Archives Catalog and located 41 record series related to the Pensacola Navy Yard at the National Archives at Washington, DC - Textual Reference (RDT1). For more information about these records, please contact RDT1 via email at Archives1reference@nara.gov. We also located 5 record series in the custody of the National Archives at Atlanta (RE-AT). For more information about these records, please contact RE-AT via email at atlanta.archives@nara.gov.  RDT1 and RE-AT may be able to provide additional research advice for this topic.



          Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and pursuant to guidance received from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), NARA has adjusted its normal operations to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of NARA staff. As a result of this re-prioritization of activities, you may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgement as well as a substantive response to your reference request from RDT1 and RE-AT. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


          We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!