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Underground Railroad - PEOPLE SOLD AT AUCTION

 

These slaves were being sold at Christiansburg, Montgomery Country (Virginia), which is southwest of today's town of Roanoke.  The illustration is from Sketchbook of Landscapes in the State of Virginia, 1853-1867, by Lewis Miller.  Online, courtesy Virginia Foundation for the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library.

 

The Library of Congress contains graphic pictures and photographs of the buying and selling of African-American slaves:

  • Arriving in South Carolina in the 1780s, a group of slaves are slated to be sold at Ashley Ferry (outside Charleston).

  • Others - including men, women and children - are auctioned off as though they were farm implements.

  • Advertisements highlight virtues of a particular slave.

  • The chains America threw away when the colonies declared their independence from Great Britain did not apply to blacks. Some even attempted to argue that American slavery was justified.

  • White buyers inspect a kidnapped African and negotiate a purchase price with African slave traders. 

  • Families were often split up. Here a mother pleads: "Buy us too."

  • In Alexandria, Virginia captured Africans were held in "slave pens" as they waited to be sold while in Easton, Maryland many whites gathered for a slave sale.

Once slaves were purchased, how did they live? What kind of clothing did they wear? How much food were they allowed?

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5124stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jul 01, 2003

Updated Last Revision: Feb 04, 2017


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