Boone Hall slave quarters. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.
The cash crop economy of South Carolina relied on the slavery of African-Americans.
Overview of Slavery in America
Learn more about the practice of slavery in America and around the world.
- Slavery Timeline
See key events in the history of slavery in America.
- A Year in the Life
Read the entries from a plantation account book to learn more about the life on a plantation.
- Slavery and the Making of America
Find out how the slaves labored to create America. Hear voices of slavery, explore slave life, and read personal narratives of former slaves.
- Sarah Grimke
Sarah Grimke and her sister Angelina became ardent supporters of the Abolitionist movement.
Slavery in South Carolina
- Slaves in South Carolina: 1525-1865
Read more about the selling of slaves, the life of a slave, and black revolts in South Carolina.
- African Passages
See images, maps, and artifacts and hear music of the slave life in Charleston and along the Ashley River.
- The Colonial Black Experience
Listen to Dr. Walter Edgar describe how slaves were used to grow South Carolina's wealth.
- The Middle Passage
The Middle Passage was the boat trip from Africa and the Americans that enslaved Africans were forced to take.
- Priscilla’s Homecoming
Read about an African-American woman from Charleston who can trace her ancestry to Priscilla, a 10 year old girl brought to South Carolina from Sierra Leone in 1756.
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.
- Slave Bill Of Sale For One Boy Named Limrick, 1742
This document shows a sale of a slave boy to John Nealson in Charleston.
- The Stono Rebellion
The Stono Rebellion was the largest slave uprising in the British Colonies until the American Revolution.
- What is Gullah?
Learn about the rich Gullah culture that continues in Charleston and the Lowcountry.
- The Gullah Creole Language
The Gullah language has influences in African dialects, West Indian languages, and English.
- Family Across the Sea
Watch this movie on the connections between the Gullah people of South Carolina and the people of Sierra Leone in Africa.
Sale notice for slaves, Charleston Mercury, 1864.
- Slave Subsistence
What did slaves eat on the slave cargo ships and when they arrived in America?
- Slave Work Songs
Slave work gangs sang call-and-response songs to regulate their movements, talk about their feelings, and make comments about their masters and overseers.
- Slave Quarters
See pictures of slave quarters on the McLeod Plantation on James Island. These buildings were 20 feet by 12 feet wooden structures.
- Slaves of General Thomas F. Drayton
This photograph of a large group of slaves in Hilton Head shows the dress and living quarters of the slaves.
Images & Artifacts
- Slave Collar
Slave collars made of iron were used to punish and identify slaves who had tried to run away.
- Slaves, J.J. Smith’s Plantation, South Carolina
This photograph of a large group of slaves in Beaufort shows the dress and living quarters of the slaves.
- Church on John’s Island
This 1797 watercolor shows an independent black congregation on John’s Island near Charleston.
- Stop the Runaways, 1819 Aug. 3
See a newspaper ad from 1819 offering a reward for two runaway slaves from a plantation on Little Lynches Creek.
- Charleston Slave Passes
In Charleston, slaves needed permission notes to be away from their master’s property.
- Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives
Read the first-person accounts of slavery from former slaves in South Carolina.