Slave Auction Site

Slave Auction Site (HMDOQ)

Location: Richmond, VA 23219
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Country: United States of America
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N 37° 32.073', W 77° 25.836'

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You are standing in the geographical heart of the slave trading district of Richmond.

To your left, around and behind you, were the cobble stone streets that led to the large, fashionable, brick hotels where dealers had their first floor offices and buyers rented upstairs rooms. The St. Charles Hotel, one of the major sales sites, was located on this corner. Adjacent was Bell Tavern (later known as the City Hotel) and nearby was the Exchange and Ballard hotels.

Public auctions were generally held in the biggest room on the first floor and a red flag would be raised above the roof to alert the buying public, and occasional European tourists, when a sales event was to occur.

Straight ahead and slightly to your right (but out of sight), were the slave holding facilities.

Located in the muddy valley of Shockoe Creek (now underground) they were reached by a maze of damp and smelly, small dirt alleyways. There were over 50 facilities in total, but Lumpkin's Jail, known as the Devil's Half Acre, was the largest and most infamous. It held the most severe slave jail for punishing runaway and recalcitrant slaves.

As part of the effort to understand the historical footprint of slavery in Richmond, an archaeological investigation is underway of this slave-holding facility and the adjacent Negro Burial Ground and Richmond City Gallows sites. You can see the study efforts at these sites, and visit the Slavery Reconciliation Statue and fountain, by following the extension of 15th Street through the railroad parking lot.
Placed ByA donation to the James River Park Fund by the students of St. Catherine's Middle School
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Friday, September 5th, 2014 at 5:23pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 285241 N 4156950
Decimal Degrees37.53455000, -77.43060000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 37° 32.073', W 77° 25.836'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds37° 32' 4.38" N, 77° 25' 50.16" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)804
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1469-1499 E Main St, Richmond VA 23219, US
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