Remembering the Slave Trade

Most physical evidence of the domestic slave trade was erased from the landscape, but the memories remain.

For many abolitionists, the slave trade was an iconic symbol of the evils of slavery. After the end of the Civil War and the passage of the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments, the slave trade and slavery ended in the United States. African Americans sought to reconstruct their families, an act that explicitly illustrated the damage done by the trade. People wrote about the pain of family separation in their memoirs and passed down their histories to the next generation. During the 1930s, the Federal Writers Project interviewed formerly enslaved people and recorded their recollections of slavery. Many spoke longingly for family who were sold through the trade, never to be seen again.