Welcome to Wilma A. Dunaway's  Slavery and Emancipation in the Mountain South: Evidence, Sources, and Methods

The Supplementary Electronic Archive for  Slavery in the American Mountain South  (Cambridge University Press, 2003) and 

The African-American Family in Slavery and Emancipation (Cambridge University Press, 2003)


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Antebellum Illustrations  
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Images of Slave Trading
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Discussion 1:

Slaves in Livestock Production

Discussion 2:

Civil War in the Mountain South

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Images of Slave Trading

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 Slave Selling    Slave Hiring    Other Sources of Slave Trading Images

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african.gif (1328 bytes)Slave Selling   In the Upper South, half or more of the slave families were permanently broken by sales. For greater detail about slave selling in the Mountain South, see pp. 1-13, 15-16, 20-27 of  these Tables.

Click the red button to view each illustration.

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes)  Map of U.S. Slave Trading Routes  Source: Wilma A. Dunaway. 2003. The African-American Family in Slavery and Emancipation. (New York: Cambridge University Press, p. 21). This map is copyrighted and CANNOT be used without permission from the publisher. Contact the author.

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes)  An eighteenth-century shipload of Africans to be auctioned at Charleston, South Carolina. Source: Virginia Gazette, 3 March 1768

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes)   This east Kentucky slaveholder was migrating westward, so he sold off 23 slaves at public auction in Lexington. Only one of the adults is being sold with her child. Note that 17 children younger than twenty are being sold separate from their parents. When they were interviewed in the 1930s, many of the Appalachian ex-slaves said they had been sold away from parents during childhood. Source: Coleman Papers, University of Kentucky

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes) The Southern Mountains lay at the geographical heart of the domestic slave trade, so slave coffles were a common sight in Appalachian counties. This coffle had camped for the night, waiting to cross the New River in southwest Virginia. Source: Featherstonhough, Excursion, vol. 1, p. 121

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes)   Through several forced labor migration strategies, Upper South masters structured the absence of adult males from slave households. This father has been sold away from his wife and children. After emancipation, almost none of the spouses separated by such sales were able to reunite. Source: Library of Congress

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes)   Appalachian masters exported slaves to the Lower South by using the services of auction houses at trading hubs, such as this one in Richmond. Such interstate sales broke two of every five slave marriages.  Source: Illustrated London News, 27 September 1856

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes)   To produce surplus slave laborers for export to the Lower South, Appalachian slaveholders engaged in reproductive exploitation in several forms. In addition to a high child mortality rate, mothers endured the horrors of having one of every three of their children sold away before age fifteen, as in this sketch of a family separation.  Source: Library of Congress

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes)   In the 1850s, western North Carolina slaves were bought and hired for railroad construction. Source: Asheville News, 10 February 1859

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes) A travelling speculator buying slaves at Christiansburg, Virginia  Source: Lewis Miller Sketchbook, Virginia Historical Society

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes) A slave announcing a slave auction in Galveston, Texas Source: Scribner's 7 (4) (1874): p. 408

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes) 1861 Slave Auction at Richmond Source: Library of Congress

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes)  The slave pen at Price, Birch, and Company, Dealers in Slaves, Alexandria, Virginia Source: Library of Congress

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes) A slave coffle through Washington, DC, 1815 Source: Library of Congress

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes)  A slave coffle heading southward out of Staunton, Virginia, 1853 Source: Lewis Miller Sketchbook, Virginia Historical Society

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african.gif (1328 bytes) Slave Hiring  In the Upper South, owners engaged in slave hiring much more frequently than they sold slaves. Slave hiring separated slave families by great distance and time. Slaves hired out by the year visited their families only once a year at Christmas. Hired slaves escaped to the free states at a much greater rate than did  those who remained on the plantations of their owners. Male slaves were hired out about 4 times more frequently than women, no doubt accounting for the low frequency at which female slaves escaped permanently.  For greater detail about slave hiring in the Mountain South, see pp. 14, 20, 23 of these Tables.

Click the red button to view each illustration. 

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes)   Hired slaves provided much of the labor for antebellum travel enterprises, comprised of resorts, hotels, inns, transportation companies, and the livestock drover trade. During the summers, Appalachian slaves were regularly hired to work at 134 mineral spas, such as these workers at White Sulphur Springs in West Virginia. Source: Harper's, 1855

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes)   Slave roustabouts, like these Chattanooga workers, provided most of the labor for river steamboats. Such long-term hireouts kept husbands away from their families much of the year. Source: Harper's, 1855

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes)   Hired slaves, like these western Carolina shaft borers, comprised a significant segment of the inter-ethnic labor force that propelled the country=s first gold rush in the Southern Mountains. Source: Harper's, 1857

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes)   Slaves supplied most of the labor to produce Appalachia's salt, one of the region's most important exports to the Lower South and the Midwest. At this salt manufactory in southwest Virginia, hired slaves did most of the skilled work, such as kettle tending (right) and boiler tending (left).  Source: Harper's, 1857

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes)   Hired slaves in lumber camps, like this West Virginia enterprise, lived in temporary lean-tos, ate a diet of fat pork and wild game, and were exposed to numerous injuries and water-borne infectious diseases. Source: Harper's, 1851

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes)   Because they profited less from their field labor, Appalachian masters hired out a higher proportion of their slaves than did Lower South plantations. For example, mountain Virginia masters hired out surplus slaves to tobacco manufactories, like this one in Lynchburg. Source, Scribner's, 1874

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes)   Steamboats that plied Appalachian rivers hired hundreds of mountain slaves. These slaves are dragging the steamboat through an area called "the sucks" on the Tennessee River near Chattanooga. Because these annual contracts kept males away from home most of the year, these abroad fathers rarely interacted with their children who remained in female-headed households on small plantations. Source: Bryant, Picturesque America

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes)   Hired steamboat roustabouts catching a brief rest from loading and unloading at Charleston, West Virginia. In addition to the dangers of bad food, frequent injuries, and lung infections from dampness and mold, such hireouts exposed Appalachian slaves to frequent epidemics of malaria, smallpox, typhoid, and cholera. Source: Harper's, 1855

bullet8.gif (1014 bytes)   Hired slaves and Irish immigrants provided most of the labor to build antebellum railroads in the Mountain South.  Source: Colyer, Brief Report, p. 165

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Other Sources of Slave Trading Images

book05.gif (1110 bytes) Check these Websites for Slave Trading Illustrations

Antebellum issues of Harper's and 1870s's issues of Scribner's are good sources of slavery illustrations. Both periodicals can be accessed online at the Making of America Project.

Search the Library of Congress online catalog. This collection includes photographs of significant buildings and historical sites, in addition to reproductions of drawings that appeared in antebellum newspapers and periodicals.

book05.gif (1110 bytes) The following 19th century books include slavery illustrations:

Bryant. William C. 1872-1874. Picturesque America. New York: D. Appleton & Co.

Featherstonhough, G.W. 1844. Excursion through the Slave States. 2 vols.

book05.gif (1110 bytes) The following contemporary books provide slave trading illustrations:

Walter Johnson. 1999. Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market. Harvard University Press.

Anne P. Malone. 1992. Sweet Chariot: Slave Family and Household Structure in 19th Century Louisiana. University of North Carolina Press. (after p. 202)

Marie J. Schwartz. 2000. Born in Bondage: Growing Up in the Antebellum South. Harvard University Press. (a few at center of book)