Slave Badges and the history of slavery in Charleston, SC

Made only in Charleston, SC, slave badges are rare and intriguing artifacts. Each badge as unique as the person that bore it, it is captivating to imagine the stories that each could tell. Digging into the history around the badges uncovers new perspectives on the past and a richer understanding of a pivotal era in American history.

"The supreme purpose of history is a better world" - Herbert Hoover

The aura of mystery that has surrounded slave badges is something about which people from a range of backgrounds and disciplines have sought answers. What were these badges? How were they used? Who wore them? How were they made? How many were there? Historians, archeologists, sociologists, collectors, and hobbyists are among those that have wondered about such questions. Until recently, however, information about slave badges had been sparse and scattered.

The content on this site is a preview of and supplement to the book, Slave Badges and the Slave-Hire System in Charleston, South Carolina, 1783-1865, which covers this topic in more detail and provides the authoritative view on the subject to date. The primary goal of both the site and the book is to promote cooperation and sharing of knowledge for the benefit of all interested in the field.

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