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[Detail] Coos Bay Bridge, North Bend, Oregon.


A search on the term, slave, produces images and descriptions of buildings in which millions of people were fed, sheltered, healed, worked, and sold while living in bondage in the United States. For example, the slave market in the Public Square in Louisville, Georgia includes a tablet that reads:

This old Market Building was erected in 1758 at what was then the junction of the Georgetown and Savannah trails. Here there was an Indian Trading Post, and this cross roads was a meeting place of Slave Traders going from the "Up-country" to the rice fields further south. Many slaves were sold here. Later it became the official place for Sheriff's sales, as well as a community market house, and remained so until recently.

Other featured buildings in the HABS collection include a slave cabin from South Carolina's Arundel Plantation and the Retreat Plantation, Slave Hospital, and Greenhouse on St. Simons Island, Georgia. This two-and-one-half-story hospital features ten rooms and "was typical of the manner in which the best plantations of the South looked after the welfare of their slaves," (page 3).

  • Who do you think were the "Slave Traders" traveling along the Georgetown and Savannah Trails?
  • Why do you think that slaves were often sold in community centers such as the Market Building?
  • Why do you think that some plantation owners constructed hospitals for their slaves?
  • Do you think that there are any benefits to preserving these buildings as they were used during the antebellum era?
  • What can these places tell us about slavery?