Recommended reading, no. 8: the Second Middle Passage.

You cannot understand the men and women who emerged from slavery to appear in the 1870 census of Wilson County without understanding who was not there — the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and children sold South in America’s domestic slave trade, known as the Second Middle Passage. 

I have no ancestors from Alabama or Mississippi or Louisiana or Texas, but my DNA matches scores of African-Americans who do. They are descended from the close kin of my North Carolina and Virginia ancestors, and the bits of identical chromosome we share is the only evidence of the crime that befell our common forebears.

To understand the depth and breadth of this trade, please study Edward E. Baptist’s The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism

To glimpse how this trade unfolded among our own Wilson County people, see:

To see how buying and selling men, women, and children even locally devastated families:


  1. Thank you for this post and recommendation. Like you, I have DNA matches from all over the south, including Louisiana and Florida, but my immediate family lines originally trace back to Virginia from North Carolina and Georgia.

  2. Let this freedom of factual information pierce the hearts and souls of all who read it.

    I am so glad that God is the judge of all records!

    I am grateful that these, our ancestors, towed the line despite such atrocities. We are because they truly were!!

    May God bless their lineage as we honor them in all we do, think, and say….till death us do part.

    Lisa Henderson, you were sent to tell these stories. I read every posting that you submit..and I share it out. I honor you. ASHAY.

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