Slavery in Charleston: A chronicle of human bondage in the Holy City

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Charles Carleton Coffin would be haunted by the sight for the rest of his life. Behind the iron gate of the “MART,” Coffin found a long hall lined with benches down one wall, a platform on the other and, beyond it, a four-story brick building with grated windows and iron doors. He was standing in both a prison yard and an auction house.

Coffin, a reporter with the Boston Journal, was one of the first newspapermen to reach Charleston after the Confederate military abandoned it in February 1865. He immediately set out in search of the city’s largest slave market so he could describe it for his readers in Massachusetts.


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