The Slave Market

After the Louisiana Purchase, New Orleans became the capital of what was then the southwest, and the natural hub for the commerce upon which all the other large scale commerce of region would be built: the slave trade. In the encounter between slave-trader, slave-buyer, and slave, argues Walter Johnson, some fundamental dynamics of American subjectivity were born, and the trauma inherent in the chattel principle, in turn, would require an outpouring of art of various forms over the many decades that followed in order to heal.