Forks in the Road Slave Market Site
Backstory and Context
According to an 1834 description of the building, the slave market was “a cluster of rough wooden buildings, in the angle of two roads,” with “a wide gate” leading into a narrow courtyard, “partially enclosed by low buildings.” The slave market operated more as a store than an auction as planters and their representatives usually made single purchases rather than attending large auctions as was common in larger cities like New Orleans.
The auction was demolished in 1863 and later became the site of a labor camp for former slaves. An African American Union regiment was also formed at this location, demonstrating the rapid shift from slavery to freedom through military service that would inspire the 14th and 15th Amendments which extended citizenship to all native-born Americans and voting rights for all men regardless of race.