Slaves for sale.
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Slaves for sale.

The twenty-three slaves advertised on this poster belonged to a Kentucky planter, John Carter, who decided to “liquidate his assets” before moving to the free state of Indiana. With the westward extension of slavery, planters in older states such as Virginia, Maryland, and North Carolina found they could make up for declining profits by selling slaves to newer areas of cultivation, such as Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. The internal slave trade destroyed families and brought misery to both individuals and the larger communities in which they lived. Between a fifth and a third of all slave marriages were broken through sale or forced migration, and the expansion of slavery meant that relatives forced to relocate were more likely to end up hundreds of miles away from their families.

Source: John Winston Coleman, Slavery Times in Kentucky (1940).