forks of the road


"Forks of the Road" Slave Market

Location: Natchez, Adams Co., MS
Year Established: ----
Activity: Auction

History: The primary slave markets in Natchez were located at the "Forks of the Road" about a mile east of downtown Natchez at a road juncture among the elite mansions of Monmouth, Melrose, and Linden. Slave auctions also took place at the Natchez Under-the-Hill and on the public streets in downtown Natchez (until the 1830's), but most of the commercial marketing of slaves centered on this location. By the 1830's the markets at the Forks of the Road in Natchez and the markets at Algiers in New Orleans were the two busiest slave markets in the entire South. Up to 32 dealers conducted store, courthouse, and river landing sales, or bargained with traders at Forks of the Road market. Groups of enslaved people would camp outside of Natchez for several days where they would bathe, be issued new clothes, and be lectured on how to conduct themselves in the market place.

The Forks of the Road market was last used for slave trade in 1863. Union troops then used the market buildings as a refugee camp for newly freed slaves and as housing while occupying Natchez. By 1864, both of the market buildings were torn down.

Although no remnants of the slave markets remain, the roads still fork at the site. Today, a Mississippi Department of Archives and History historical marker purchased by the Natchez Juneteenth Committee commemorates the site.

Description of Locale

Associated Free White Names

Associated Black Slave Names