Experience the stories of those whose lives were bought and sold
February 10 – August 25, 2019
Special Exhibitions Gallery
Purchased Lives: The American Slave Trade from 1808 to 1865 illustrates the pain and injustice of the American domestic slave trade, illuminating just how widespread the practice of slavery was in American life, as well as its impact on enslaved families across the country.
This exhibition, originally curated by The Historic New Orleans Collection, showcases more than 75 original artifacts, slave narratives, and oral histories. Through interactive displays, visitors engage directly with historical records by tracking the shipment of more than 70,000 people to New Orleans. Purchased Lives also contains a collection of “Lost Friends” ads placed after the Civil War by newly freed people attempting to locate Illinois family members.
Illinois Holocaust Museum consistently uses special exhibitions to tell stories of inhumanity and resilience, both historical and present-day. Purchased Lives, combined with its related programming, facilitates a broader conversation about the legacies of the American slave trade and their manifestations in today’s world.
All photographs courtesy of The Historic New Orleans Collection. Exhibition by The Historic New Orleans Collection.