Old Slave Mart, Charleston

Old Slave Mart, Charleston (must see)

Constructed in 1859, this building, designed in the Gothic Revival and Romanesque styles with a stuccoed façade, originally formed part of the slave market known as Ryan's Mart. Named after city alderman and slave profiteer, Thomas Ryan, it occupied a large enclosed area between Chalmers and Queen Streets, consisting of a four-story slave jail, a kitchen, and a morgue referred to as the "dead house". With slave quarters having been demolished at most antebellum plantations, it is believed to be the last surviving site of a slave auction house.

Since 1938, it has been home to the Old Slave Mart Museum, a highly informative institution portraying the slave trading that occurred here between 1856 and 1863. The museum's knowledgeable staff is well-equipped to answer any questions that may arise while exploring the various exhibits. These delve into the transcontinental and domestic slave trade through large storyboards, personal narratives, and authentic artifacts, including shackles worn by slaves, the whips used to beat them, and even a deed of sale for auctioned slaves.

Among the self-guided educational materials is a firsthand audio account by former slave Elijah Green, born in 1843, who recounted his life's story in 1937. His account offers a sobering, realistic, and educational perspective on the nation's history, with a particular focus on Charleston's African-American heritage, spanning from slavery to emancipation.

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Charleston. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from Apple App Store or Google Play Store. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Old Slave Mart on Map

Sight Name: Old Slave Mart
Sight Location: Charleston, USA (See walking tours in Charleston)
Sight Type: Museum/Gallery
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Charleston, South Carolina

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