James Hair bought a man and two girls. Joseph Bee plunked his money down for a boy and a girl.
The purchases are included in a detailed account of a 1784 slave sale in Charleston, S.C. The slaves — 563 men, women and children — arrived in South Carolina aboard the Comte du Nord, a British slave ship that carried its human cargo from the West African port of Malembo, north of the Congo River.
The slaves were sold to various buyers for the equivalent of roughly $150,000, or an average of $266 each. The business deals were handled in the same way as the purchase of cattle. Each sales document lists the buyer, the gender of the slave, how many slaves each person bought and the price. The Comte du Nord sale is significant because it may have been the largest shipment of slaves directly from Africa to Charleston.
Researchers at Emory University hope to make such information widely available soon.
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