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21,000 enslaved people were sold from Norfolk, Virginia

ROADSTEAD Montessori High School, the Joseph Jenkins Roberts Center for the Study of the African Diaspora at Norfolk State University and the Sargeant Collection at Slover Libraries, Norfolk Public Libraries are working together to find their stories.

21,000 men, women and children

left Virginia via Norfolk and were sold in the Mississippi River Valley

Enslaved people

were one of the most valuable exports from Virginia during the antebellum era

Slave traders

made hundreds of thousands of dollars by separating families

Ship Manifests

Students transcribed the manifests for slave trading ships leaving Norfolk.

Records of Sales

Students found the records of the sales of enslaved people in New Orleans Notary records

Bill of sale from Norfolk, Virginia, for purchase of an enslaved person by Bernard Raux and Nathaniel Currier : printed form with manuscript material (Bernard Raux slave trade papers, MS Am 790, Houghton Library, Harvard University)
Slave Auction, Virginia, by LeFevre Cranstone. c. 1860, Virginia Historical Society

Data and storytelling

Our project both relies on compiling data to discover trends and focusing on the experiences of individual enslaved men, women and children to contextualize the numbers.