The Slave Trade
More than ten million Africans were forcefully imported as part of the transatlantic slave trade between the 1600s and early 1800s. The majority went to the Caribbean and South America. At least 388,000 were brought to the United States before U.S. law banned importation in 1808.
Slavery and the debates about its morality continued. The end of legal importation and the economic viability of cotton in the Deep South contributed to the development of a thriving internal slave trade in the United States.
Virginia to Louisiana
Before the Civil War the U.S. internal slave trade accounted for the forced migration of up to a million enslaved people from the Upper South to the cotton plantations of the Deep South. The eighty-three enslaved people onboard the Lafayette were shipped from an Alexandria, Virginia, slave market for sale in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Black New Orleans
Antebellum New Orleans was home to a diverse population of whites, creoles, and enslaved and free blacks. As early as 1818, visitors commented on the mix of cultures in the city's public squares where hundreds of people of African descent gathered every Sunday afternoon to sing, play musical instruments, and dance.
Slavery Spreads West
Texas entered the Union as a slave state in 1845, leading many southerners to migrate across the Mississippi taking the institution of slavery with them. In 1856 James Wilson took twenty slaves, including Hiram Wilson, to Texas to establish a stoneware pottery. After Emancipation, the freedmen founded a successful pottery and the free black town of Capote.