Cheapside Lexington, KY was one of the largest slave auction blocks in state. In fact, it was the most illustrious slave market site throughout the South. In addition to the traditional slave trading, they sold disfigured and crippled slaves at a fraction of the price to scanty farmers; hence the name “cheapside.” As you might assume, the name of the area is still called “Cheapside.”
The auction market is also home to the slave “whipping post” where slaves or ”cattle” were punished. “Frequent public floggings reminded every slave of the penalty for inefficient labor, disorderly conduct, or refusal to accept the authority of a superior (historian David Brion Davis).” One of the biggest businesses in Kentucky was slave trading. They exported more slaves than any other state; 16% of KY slaves were sold out of the state to the Deep South. For this reason, many of the slaves in Kentucky were separated from their family including mother and child. Visualize the scene of a crying toddler being ripped from his mother’s arms never to see her again; that was a regular occurrence in Fayette County.
A little history lesson: slavery was abolition in 1865. Kentucky along with other states like the wonderful Mississippi rejected the 13th amendment to the Constitution and did not ratify that rejection until 1976 (KY) and 1995 (MS).
Today Cheapside Lexington, KY is home to weekly flea and farmer’s markets. The above pictures were taken at the public square earlier this month. Take a moment today to thank our ancestors for their strength and pray that their souls are at peace. Never forget your past…