A Slave Auction

19th Century engraving of a slave auction in South Carolina. Wikimedia Commons.

The cash crop economy of South Carolina relied on the slavery of African Americans.

Overview of Slavery

In Their Own Words

Slavery in the Colonies

  • Contract of Indenture
    This contract specified a three year period of indenture for labor in exchange for transportation and a sum of money.
  • Eighteenth Century Overseer Site
    Learn more about the culture, life, and hardships of overseers in South Carolina in the eighteenth century.
  • Slave Code of South Carolina, May 1740
    South Carolina’s Slave Code of 1740 was a series of laws aimed at controlling the population of enslaved African Americans.
  • The Stono Rebellion
    The Stono Rebellion was the largest slave uprising in the British Colonies until the American Revolution.


  • Early African American Religion
    African religious customs blended with Christianity as slaves held secret religious meetings and sang spirituals with double meanings of salvation and freedom from slavery.
  • Negro Spirituals, 1867
    Read the lyrics of many spirituals sung by former slaves and written down for the Atlantic Monthly magazine in 1867.

Images & Artifacts


Sarah Moore Grimk‚Abolitionist Sarah Moore Grimk‚ (1792-1873). Image courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.