Charleston’s Slave Markets

My meanderings are punctuated by churches. Charleston’s picturesque peninsula was a refuge for nonconformist Christians, as well as Jews, and “The Holy City” still hosts a multitude of Christian buildings of diverse architecture and denomination, as well as a historic synagogue.

Certainly the WNs will focus on the synagogue – LOL.

Non-conformist Christian as in what? Satanist? 😆

Yeah, all the “southern-ish” bearded hipsters now in coffee shops – but slave shops back in the day!   Well, I’m not shocked!

But it’s the innocent-looking information boards on the ground floor that lodge in my brain: they describe the busy auctions that took place in the now-quiet square – auctions of enslaved people. “Some 40 per cent of the estimated 388,000 Africans brought to America as slaves came through this city,” says historian Ruth Miller, my knowledgeable guide. “Odds are, almost every African American can trace blood lines back to Charleston”.

Also, oddly enough, the Civil War started there.

This small museum of personal testimonies and evocative objects (including manacles) occupies the site of the indoor slave market that replaced the one at the Old Exchange. Christine holds a poster for a sale here in 1860. A 12-year-old boy was sold (alone) for $940 (about $24,000 today), a 15-year-old girl for $1,275. “I honour my ancestors by talking about them as people, not property,” she says. “My great-grandparents were enslaved… they survived this for me.”

It’s amazing how African-Americans fell in value to from a new car each (an average new car in today’s terms – to being utter pests – so despised by conservatives, WNs etc..)

“You see, it isn’t just history,” sighs Christine Mitchell, welcoming me to Charleston’s Old Slave Mart Museum. Whitewashing is still a big problem, she says, and (though legally ended in 1968) segregation is alive and kicking. Certainly, I have seen a minuscule number of the black people who make up 40 per cent of the city’s population.

It’s certainly not a culturally integrated city – unofficially.  But – I think it’s due to the blacks – not the whites (to a large degree).

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