Slavery Feed

Slavery - not just in the South


This 1851 poster warned free blacks in Boston against talking to city police and authorities who were cooperating with slavers

Slaves were part of American history almost from the beginning, and both Northern and Southern businessmen became rich from the slave trade

  • Northern states permitted slavery in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but outlawed it around the start of the nineteenth century.
  • Even though slavery was not prevalent in the North, northern commercial and industrial centers (particularly textiles industries) had a vested interest in the survival of slavery in the South.

The North failed to develop large-scale agrarian slavery, such as later arose in the Deep South, but that had little to do with morality and much to do with climate and economy.

Slaves that lived in the North were often domestic servants or bondsmen to small farmers and rural iron works. Unlike in the South, Northern farms were not large-scale enterprises that focused on producing one cash crop. They were often smaller, more agriculturally diversified enterprises that required fewer laborers. Hence, the need for enslaved bondsmen gradually dwindled–especially as rapid soil depletion and the growth of industry in northern cities attracted many rural northerners to wage labor cities.

Advent of the cotton gin, which supplied the North with the surplus of raw cotton necessary to produce finished goods for export. Northern industry and commerce relied on Southern cash crop production and therefore, while slavery was actively abolished in the North, most northerners were content to allow slavery to flourish in the Southern states until conflicts over the admission of slave states into the union in the mid-nineteenth century incited northern opposition to the expansion of Southern slavery.

Source: Boundless. “Slavery in the North.” Boundless U.S. History.


African-American Savannah woman takes her place among United Daughters of the Confederacy

Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News United Daughters of Confederacy member Georgia Benton.
A Savannah native, Georgia Benton grew up hearing about the Civil War service of her great-grandfather, a slave from Sumter, S.C., who followed his master to the battles of Sharpsburg, Gettysburg and Petersburg, and then brought his body home for burial when he was struck down by artillery fire and slain during the conflict’s final days.

“He was fighting for his land and his people,” Benton said of George W. Washington, who was 16 when he entered Confederate service in 1862 as the body servant of Lt. William Alexander McQueen, who was 22.

To honor Washington and his three years of wartime service, Benton took an audacious step: She decided to join the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

“I have every right to membership in the UDC, which along with the Sons of Confederate Veterans, remembers and recognizes the men who fought for and rendered service to the South during the Civil War,” said Benton.

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Battle Lines, Slavery Divide D.C. Man’s Civil War Ancestry

Battle Lines, Slavery Divide D.C. Man’s Civil War Ancestry
Posted Saturday, August 13, 2011 :: Staff infoZine


Lee Jackson, 60, is a descendent of both a white Confederate and a black Union soldier. He has been researching their participation in the Civil War. SHFWire photo by Rebecca Koenig

By Rebecca Koenig - When he was a ninth grader in Natchez, Miss., Lee Jackson’s American history textbook did not mention slavery.

Washington, D.C. - infoZine - Scripps Howard Foundation Wire - The Civil War, it explained, was caused by a Northern misunderstanding of the Southern way of life. It certainly did not reference the 200,000 African Americans, many of them former slaves, who fought for the Union during the conflict that began 150 years ago. 

It wasn’t until after Jackson, 60, moved away from Mississippi to become a lawyer in Washington that he started talking to his grandmother about his family history and learned that his great-great-grandfather, Buck Murphy, was one of those black Union soldiers. She also told him his great-great-great-grandfather, Jack Murphy, was a white slave owner and Confederate soldier – and Buck’s master. 

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