Second Middle Passage

Recommended reading, no. 3: 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: