Baltimore’s Role in the Slave Trade, Revisited

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Baltimore-harbor-1849The larger conversation that followed the unrest that followed Freddie Gray’s funeral has been just as much about racial inequality as police brutality. But to truly get to the root of the inequality in Baltimore, you have to go way back.

A piece by the History News Network that appeared on Time Magazine’s website does just that, recalling when Baltimore was a key point in the slave trade. As author Calvin Schermerhorn notes, Baltimore isn’t usually classified as a Southern city, but slavery was deeply entrenched.  “Mastermind of the Market” Austin Woolfolk used the City jail as a place to hold captives before literally shipping them off to Southern states to become slaves.

Woolfolk’s enterprise also made Baltimore a hotbed of opposition to slavery, as abolitionists William Lloyd Garrison and Frederick Douglas were radicalized here.

Read the entire article.

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