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.

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"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

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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.

    • PatB

      My thought, exactly. I was thinking, I hope that at least put a bowl of food and water on the floor for them. The cruelty is unimaginable.

  • Bonnieblue409

    I Love your website. I was born at Sibley Hospital in 1947 and lived in D.C. until 1961.I am fascinated with all these great articles about my hometown. Thank you.

    • PatB

      I, too, was born there in 1947 and left in 2005. It will always be home for me.

  • Popeye D. Saylorman

    If any slave pens are still standing today for historical reasons then they should be spray painted, damaged and destroyed because we must wipe out all remnants of negative history….its the….ahhhmmm,…. Politically correct thing to do. Out of sight mean out of mind…and everyone will live happily ever after.