Julia F. Smith


Much of the slave trade in Florida centered in Tallahassee, the heart of the cotton belt. New Orleans was perhaps the largest southern slave market. Negro-traders, characters looked down upon by all, purchased slaves there “from the block” at public outcry. Most of the supply for Florida planters was brought in by these traders. They came to St. Marks by ship and then on to Tallahassee to dispose of their cargoes. The blacks were kept in the public jail or in “slave pens,” special buildings designed with cells, until time of sale. The auctions were widely advertised in advance, and bidding was usually spirited.