History

Franklin and Armfield

Franklin and Armfield was a notorious slave trading firm that was founded in Alexandria, Virginia, in 1828 by two slave traders, Isaac Franklin, and John Armfield. The firm operated in the United States during the height of the transatlantic slave trade and was one of the most successful and profitable slave trading enterprises in the country.

Franklin and Armfield’s primary business was buying and selling enslaved people from the Upper South, which included states such as Virginia, Maryland, and Kentucky, and then transporting them to the Deep South, which included states such as Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. This was done to meet the growing demand for labor in the cotton and sugar plantations of the Deep South. The company also had operations in other states such as Washington D.C., Georgia, and Tennessee.

Union soldiers and other men posing in front of a building in occupied Alexandria where the slave dealers Price, Birch, and Company once operated. The premises were once owned by the slave-trading firm Franklin and Armfield. The Union army used the former slave jail to house Confederate prisoners.

The company’s success was driven by the ruthless tactics used by Franklin and Armfield to maximize profits. The company would purchase enslaved people at low prices and then sell them in the Deep South for much higher prices. This was achieved by separating families and selling them to different buyers, which was a traumatic experience for enslaved people. The company also used brutal methods to discipline and control enslaved people, often leading to physical and psychological trauma.

Franklin and Armfield’s trading operations were disrupted by the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, which led to the eventual abolition of slavery in the United States. However, the legacy of their actions and the impact on the lives of the enslaved people and their descendants persists to this day.

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