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Slave Transportation to Montgomery


In order to meet  the high demand for slaves in Alabama in the 
early 1800s, slave traders chained African Americans together in 
coffles and forced them to march hundreds of miles from the Upper 
South to the Lower South, including Montgomery. The overland 
transportation of enslaved people by foot was slow and expensive.

By the 1840s, slave traders began to take advantage of two new 
modes of transportation: steamboat and the railroad. Steamboats 
carried slaves from. Mobile and New Orleans up the Alabama River 
to Montgomery. Rail routes constructed with slave labor connected 
Montgomery’s train station to West Point, Georgia and lines 
extending to the Upper South. Hundreds of slaves began arriving 
by rail and by boat each day in Montgomery, turning the city 
into a principal slave trading center in Alabama. Enslaved people 
who arrived at the riverfront or at the train station were paraded 
up Commerce Street to be sold in the city’s slave markets.



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