Slaves in the South
Port Royal Island, SC
This photograph shows slaves sorting cotton for the gin on a plantation in South Carolina. The cotton crop relied heavily on slave labor, as did rice and tobacco in the Southern States and sugar in the West Indies. The invention of the cotton gin in 1793 by Eli Whitney helped increase the demand for raw cotton and thus for slave labor. It is estimated that up until the slave trade ended in the mid-nineteenth century, ten million slaves were brought to America from Africa.
Citation - Document 45
Courtesy Library of Congress, Reproduction no. LC-B8171-0159