Out of the attic


I was loaded in a wagon with a lot more people in it, where I was bound I dont know. Whatever became of my mammy and pappy I dont know… 

— former slave Mingo White said to a backdrop of sung slave spirituals (1836)
In 1831, a slave woman stands outside of 1315 Duke Street in Old Town. In a line of quaint town houses still sits the grey four-story building known as The Freedom House, which today sits in the sunlight of an emancipated twenty-first century Alexandria. Back in the early 19th century, however, it was the keeper of the dark shadow of Alexandrias huge slave trade. From 1828 to 1836, it housed one of the largest slave trading companies in the country.  Partners Isaac Franklin and John Armfield created the Franklin and Armfield Company, which purchased, housed and sold slaves south from Virginia to Louisiana and Mississippi.  According to the Virginia African American Heritage Program, Franklin and Armfield realized they could buy slaves cheaply in the upper southern states and sell them for a much larger profit to the lower southern states.  The firm paid $500 per slave on average and sold them for an average price of $860.   At its height, the firm sold approximately 1,000 to 1,200 slaves a year.