History November 07, 2018 at 12:00 pm

6 thriving companies in the U.S. and UK that profited from slave trade

Farida Dawkins | Contributor

Farida Dawkins November 07, 2018 at 12:00 pm

November 07, 2018 at 12:00 pm | History

The label of a coat belonging to Dr. William Newton Mercer, and purchased from Brooks Brothers in New York. Given the size and style of the coat, it was most likely made for young male enslaved domestics…The Historic New Orleans Collection

Brooks Brothers

Founded in 1818, Brooks Brothers is the oldest men’s clothier in the U.S.

The clothing brand is known for its exquisite and innovative designs and is frequently worn by head figures including Barack Obama.

Brooks Brothers also manufactured and sold clothing specifically made for wear by slaves.

“Brooks Brothers profited from ‘servant’ clothing as well as the clothing designed for their masters. Brooks Brothers had a livery department, which provided garments for coachmen, footmen, chauffeurs, etc. in wealthy households, including those south of the Mason-Dixon Line.”

“As symbols of their prosperity, moneyed slaveholders often outfitted their enslaved domestics in fine clothing as a display of their wealth. For example, Thomas Jefferson meticulously recorded the clothing distributed to each member of the enslaved community at Monticello, noting the quality and quantity of materials beside the name of each slave,” as documented by Vestoj.


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