They were once America’s cruelest, richest slave traders. Why does no one know their names?
Hannah Natanson, September 14, 2019, The Washington Post
The two most ruthless domestic slave traders in America had a secret language for their business.
Slave trading was a “game.” The men, Isaac Franklin and John Armfield, were daring “pirates” or “one-eyed men,” a euphemism for their penises. The women they bought and sold were “fancy maids,” a term signifying youth, beauty and potential for sexual exploitation — by buyers or the traders themselves.
Rapes happened often.
“To my certain knowledge she has been used & that smartly by a one eyed man about my size and age, excuse my foolishness,” Isaac Franklin’s nephew James — an employee and his uncle’s protege — wrote in typical business correspondence, referring to Caroline Brown, an enslaved woman who suffered repeated rape and abuse at James’s hands for five months. She was 18 at the time and just over five feet tall.