2. The Slave Market was Opened to Prevent Uprisings

slave auction-NYC-Untapped Cities
Illustration of slave auction. Image via Digital Collections/New York Public Library.

Many colonists feared that slaves would organize an uprising, given the density of the slave population. Unlike plantation slaves, city slaves had considerable mobility and were often left unsupervised. Slaveholders decided the best way to thwart rioting was to limit the amount of time slaves could spend with each other. They created a slave market to continuously buy and sell off slaves, preventing slaves from getting “too comfy” so-to-speak. A law was passed in 1702 that prohibited slaves from gathering in groups of three or more.