African American Heritage Trail

Cheapside

3. Cheapside

During the dark era of slavery in Kentucky, the section of town in Lexington known as "cheapside" became the largest slave-trading locality in the state.  In fact, the area was one of the most well known of the slave market districts in the South.  Africans were beaten and families were separated forever as they were auctioned and sold in the courtyard.  According to historical narratives, President Abraham Lincoln once observed the selling of slaves at this site.  In the post-war period, "cheapside" served as a public square and a market.  This photograph shows a court day in November 1887.

Old Cheapside

Used by permission: 
Audio-Visual Archives, Special Collections, 
University of Kentucky Libraries