Saturday, August 27, 2011

Slave Market House: Louisville, Georgia

Journey to Louisville (pronounced Lewis-ville), Georgia and you are in for a history lesson. Site of the Georgia state capital during the Yazoo Land Fraud the city was near the center of the antebellum cotton industry. Completely rebuilt in the center of downtown Louisville is a market house where people would sell just about anything, including slaves. It is the only remaining slave-trading site in the state of Georgia, and was the largest slave market in the state for many years.

Originally built between 1795 and 1798, the market used by sheriffs and other officials as well as local folk to sell land and goods. But the dark side of this market is the African-American slave trade that fueled the local economy. When importation of slaves became illegal in 1808 the market in Savannah closed. Smugglers had to move their goods inland for sale, and the market at Louisville was very active in the illegal trade.

The market survived General Sherman's March to the Sea. A bell inside the market was cast for a New Orleans Convent, but never made it there. A pirate ship took it as booty and through an unknown series of events the bell ended up at Louisville. (source: Roadside Georgia)

Map of Louisville--First Planned Capital and Capitol

The commission appointed to choose the location of a new permanent capital city directed that it be built within 20 miles of the trading post called "Galphin’s Old Town" (or "Galphinton"), which was located in present day Jefferson County. The site finally selected was by a slave market located at the intersection of three roads leading to Augusta, Savannah, and Georgetown respectively. The slave market, built in 1758, is still standing. The Legislature directed that the name of the new capital be Louisville in honor of King Louis XVI of France as an expression of thanks for French aid during the Revolutionary War.
Louisville was Georgia’s first planned capital, and the city was to contain the state’s first capitol building built expressly for that purpose. The new state house was completed in 1796. Although there are no known paintings or drawings of this building, it is known that it was a two-story structure of 18th century Georgian architecture, and was made of red brick. Even before moving to the new capital, the Legislature designated Louisville the "permanent seat" of Georgia government. But by the early 1800s, further western expansion caused the Legislature to convene in yet another new "permanent" state capital. (source: Georgia Government State Archives)


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  2. Everything is very clear.It was truly informative.Your website is very useful.Thank you for sharing.

  3. There is misinformation in this article, presented as coming from state gov. archives. Some, but not all, does indeed come from archives. Let us be careful about what we believe

  4. I know a woman who is 89 years old and remembers walking 4 1/2 miles each day to get to school. She spoke on the matter of the auction block in Louisville, how the stories were true. Also how they walked while the white kids road on the school bus sometimes spit flying out of the window at them and the occasional beatdown when the driver would stop the bus to let the white kids beat them and then return to the bus heading back to school! She's trying to understand how anyone can say "NO! I'm not voting" her first time voting she says " I felt like a slave because we weren't given a choice! We had to vote for who they said we were going to vote for! I just wanted to share a little history from todays awareness from her!

  5. I was a young white male in my early teens, we had a lot of family in Georgia (my mother was born there and moved away, thank God). I remember well the day some of my relatives took my parents and me there to see the slave market. While they were laughing and chuckling and making jokes about this site, I remember feeling both sad and angry about the fact that it is, all that time later, still a constant reminder of those "Confederate days" of terror for so many individuals and families. I have never forgotten that experience after 49 years.

  6. The trading block is a very sad remembrance of humans being sold. I feel that it should be removed. Why would anyone want to see this. It tears my heart apart to think of selling another human and splitting up children from there parents. This is taking history too far back to a very hurtful time. Burn it down!!!!


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