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Guide To Records of Enslaved People

This guide contains all material related to enslaved people held by Atkins Library's Special Collections & University Archives.

Helpful Tips For Accessing These Collections

All of the materials held by Atkins Library's Special Collections & University Archives can be accessed by heading to the 10th floor of the library and going into the Dalton Reading Room. Once you enter the Reading Room, consult the librarian at the desk who will be able to assist you in retrieving manuscript collections, rare books, oral histories and maps.

If you have any questions about the resources in this LibGuide, please feel free to email Andrew Pack (


Slavery in Mecklenburg County

Slavery in North Carolina was mostly centered in the eastern part of the state, however, Mecklenburg county had one of the largest populations of enslaved people in the Piedmont. In addition to the large number of enslaved individuals that worked on farms and cotton plantations, many worked in the gold mines, where possibly up to a third of all mine workers were enslaved. There was also a significant number of enslaved individuals involved in various industries, including blacksmithing, brickmaking, textile mills and iron mines. In 1860, just before the start of the Civil War, there were 6,800 enslaved individuals living in the county out of a total population of 17,000, making 40% of the entire county enslaved.