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Slave quarters, Helena, Arkansas

Slave quarters, Helena, Arkansas

This photograph was taken in Helena, Arkansas while the Sixth Minnesota Volunteers were camped there. In 1860, enslaved people made up more than a quarter of Arkansas’ population. But in Phillips County, where this photograph was taken, enslaved people made up 60 percent of the total population.The inscription "slave quarters" is a bit deceving. Usually, "slave quarters" means the place where enslaved people lived on their owners' property. But this photo, taken in 1864, actually shows a row of shelters constructed by and for refugees. These runaway enslaved people, living within Union-controlled areas, were called contraband. In Helena, the Union Army was not equipped to house and feed the large groups of contraband, so many enslaved people built their own shelters.

Date: 
1864
Topic: 
Location: 
Helena, Arkansas
Format: 
 

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