Old Slave Mart Museum in Charleston South Carolina
The Old Slave Mart Museum has operated sporadically since 1938. It is often incorrectly called the Charleston Slave Market Museum, the Slave Mart Museum Charleston or the Old Slave Market Museum.
The Old Slave Mart Museum is the first African-American Museum. It is often staffed by individuals who can trace their history to Charleston slaves. Many people don’t realize that at one point during slavery, as many as 35-40% of slaves entered the United States through Charleston. In addition to the staff, the building evokes an eerie feeling of days gone by. There is a lot to learn. There is an interview with a former slave that is fascinating. Don’t expect the inside to look like it did when slaves were sold there.
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Plan on spending at least an hour reading the very informative posters and soaking in the history. Thomas Ryan owned Ryan’s Mart which later became the Old Slave Mart. It is located between Chalmers and Queen Streets. The Old Slave Mart was built in 1859 and is considered the last surviving slave auction gallery in South Carolina. It was used briefly before the Civil War ended all slavery in the South. In 1975, the Old Slave Mart was added to the National Register of Historic Places for its role in Charleston’s African-American history.