Black and white depiction of Boone Hall brick slave houses.

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

  • Slavery DISCUS 
    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

Gullah Culture

  • What is Gullah?
    Learn about the rich Gullah culture that continues in Charleston and the Lowcountry.


    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