Old Slave Market, St. Augustine, Florida

Special Collections > Keystone Slides
tiff scanned file from original glass slide
Find on your map of Florida the city of St. Augustine. In what section of Florida is it? The building here seen has outlived the purpose for which it was built. Beneath its roof were formerly sold men and women who did work without pay for the men who bought them. This is the old slave market in the oldest city in the United States-St. Augustine. Most southern cities had a special market of this sort set apart. Here, either on given days of the week, or at announced times, great crowds of negro men, women, and children were offered for sale to the highest bidder. The auction was conducted just as a sale of any goods is now conducted. The auctioneer stood on a block, placed the negroes on another block, and then asked his crowd to offer sums larger and larger. The bidders stepped up, pinched the muscles of the negro, and looked him over just as a purchaser of a horse does at a stock auction today. Slaves were first bought in Virginia in 1619. Slavery spread to all the earlier states of the Union but never became fixed in the North. The invention of the cotton gin settled the question as to whether the South would or would not free their slaves of their own accord. This invention made the South a cotton-growing country. Negroes were necessary to the production of cotton. Our Civil War was fought chiefly because of slavery. St. Augustine has a history that reaches far back of the period of slavery. It was settled in 1565 by the Spaniards. The site of this old slave market is not far from where Ponce de Leon (pn´ th d l-n´) landed in 1513 in his search for the Fountain of Eternal Youth. The city is now a fashionable winter resort. Keystone ID: 314 Note: All titles, descriptions, and location coordinates are from the original Keystone Slide documentation as supplied by the Keystone View Company. No text has been edited or changed.
Copyright by the Keystone View Company. The original slides are housed in McConnell Library's Special Collections.