Virginia Memory, Library of Virginia


To Be Sold
Monday, October 27, 2014–Saturday, May 30, 2015
Time: 9:00 AM–5:00 PM
Place: Lobby and Exhibition Hall, Free

To Be Sold: Virginia and the American Slave Trade offers a frank exploration of Virginia's role in the business of the second middle passage—the forced relocation of two-thirds of a million African Americans from the Upper South to the Cotton South in the decades before the Civil War. Anchoring the exhibition is a series of images created by English artist Eyre Crowe (1824–1910), who in March 1853 witnessed the proceedings of Richmond's largest business. Crowe turned his sketches and experience into a series of remarkable paintings and engravings that humanized the enslaved and spoke eloquently of the pathos and upheaval of the trade. The story of the American slave trade is one of numbers, but it is also the story of individuals whose families were torn apart and whose lives were forever altered.

Public Programming

Tuesday, 4 November 2014 (noon-1:00)

Public Program: Objects of Oppression and Liberation: Slavery Artifacts and the American Civil War.

The Library's Gregg Kimball and Phil Troutman from George Mason University demonstrate how artifacts can be used to understand the trauma of slavery.


Tuesday, 24 February (noon-1:00)

Research Report: The Life and Love of Slave Trader Silas Omohundro

Presenter: Alexandra Findley (Dissertation student, College of William and Mary)

Scholar Alexandra Findley chronicles the life of Silas Omohundro, a Richmond slave trader, and the African American woman he took as a wife.


Friday, 20 March 2015 (5:30-7:00)

Lecture/Reception: Solomon Northup and the Tragic Voyage of the Orleans

Arizona State University scholar Calvin Schermerhorn recounts the life of Solomon Northup, the central character of the movie 12 Years a Slave, and his voyage on the slaver Orleans as a case study of the complexities of the interstate slave trade.


Saturday, 21 March 2015 (9:00-5:15)

Symposium: To Be Sold: Virginia and the American Slave Trade

The Library, in partnership with Historic New Orleans Collection and the Midlo Center at the University of New Orleans, presents a dual-site symposium with leading scholars from around the country discussing America's interstate slave trade. (Funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities)

To Be Sold Symposium


Tuesday, 7 April 2015 (noon-1:00)

Digital Scholarship: Recreating Richmond's Slave District

University of Richmond's Digital Scholarship Lab staff present an overview of a recent project to develop a 3D map overview of Richmond and its antebellum slave district.


Wednesday, 29 April (noon-1:00)

Research Report: The Library of Virginia African American Database Project

Library archivist Greg Crawford provides an update on the massive effort to collect the names and stories of enslaved Virginians from the Library's archives. (Presented as part of Preservation Week)


Friday, 29 May 2015 (noon-1:00)

Book Talk: Slaves Waiting for Sale: Abolitionist Art and the American Slave Trade

Exhibit curatorMaurie McInnis demonstrates how art can be used to interpret America's slave trade.

Learn about two women caught in the domestic slave trade, visit Out of the Box and

Help transcribe documents from the domestic slave trade at Making History,