A close study of the African-American community of Adams county waits to be written. By whatever standards adhered to, however, an in-depth investigation of the subject would be a daunting task at best, and in some areas an all but impossible one. Sadly, the early years, if seen at all, are often barely visible through the mists of repression and slavery. And yet, unfortunate and illogical as it might seem, slave owners very frequently offer the only glimpses of the downtrodden now obtainable....

This study consists of four lists, centered on the names of the county's slaveholders and designed to look at slavery from different viewpoints. Included as an appendix is a collection of Pennsylvania laws, either the full texts or the pertinent portions, concerning slavery. Not only do those laws aid in understanding why the lists can now be compiled, but they are also in themselves a valuable history lesson on the state's official view, for the years shown, of a sizable segment of its people. [excerpt]