The Old Exchange Building unveiled a new historic marker, titled “Slave Auctions,” acknowledging the significance of the area around the building as a destination for the domestic slave trade. The marker is located at the intersection of East Bay and Gillon streets, just north of the Old Exchange Building.
The marker focuses on slave auctions that occurred just north of the Exchange while also acknowledging other areas downtown where slaves were often sold.
“Enslaved people were sold at a number of places during Charleston’s first 200 years,” said Edwin Breeden, director of an initiative at the Old Exchange Building to improve interpretation of slavery’s role in the site’s history. “But, in the decades leading up to the Civil War, the Exchange was probably the busiest and best known place in the city for slave auctions. We’re excited to finally acknowledge the importance of that history through this marker.”
Breeden and Joseph McGill, founder of the Slave Dwelling Project and interpreter at the Old Slave Mart Museum, will both speak at the dedication.
“This is a major step in interpreting the whole story of Charleston, not just the portions that keep us within our comfort zones,” McGill said.
The Old Exchange Building, ca. 1771, is an historic site and museum owned by the South Carolina Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution with the Rebecca Motte Chapter serving as building steward. It is operated by the City of Charleston.