What Did an Alexandria Slave Pen Look Like

"Slave pen, Alexandria, Va." Shows interior with slave pens at left. Soldier stands to left of barred door; two men behind barred door look through and grip bars. Of the four slave pens to the left, two have doors open.

The sad truth is that slave pens existed in and around all of Washington. This photo shows one of those in Alexandria during the 1860s.

- click image for more -
"Slave pen, Alexandria, Va." Shows interior with slave pens at left. Across an open courtyard is a barred door with a barred door and soldier standing at left. An officer stands behind barred door. Wood debris in foreground. Five slave pens at left.
“Slave pen, Alexandria, Va.” Shows interior with slave pens at left. Across an open courtyard is a barred door with a barred door and soldier standing at left. An officer stands behind barred door. Wood debris in foreground. Five slave pens at left.
- click image for more -
"Slave pen, Alexandria, Va." Shows interior with slave pens at left. Soldier stands to left of barred door; two men behind barred door look through and grip bars. Of the four slave pens to the left, two have doors open.
“Slave pen, Alexandria, Va.” Shows interior with slave pens at left. Soldier stands to left of barred door; two men behind barred door look through and grip bars. Of the four slave pens to the left, two have doors open.

Source: Library of Congress

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.

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  • Popeye D. Saylorman

    Many slave owners rented there slaves out to the DC Government for long periods of time. The pens are where they were kept at close of business.

  • Popeye D. Saylorman

    May as well would have been put in dog houses. Their only crime was being born black…and this went on for over 200 years….what a shame.