There are places of such immense human suffering and calamity as to shock the conscience of the world. These sites, be they Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Auschwitz, or the Killing Fields of Cambodia, elicit near universal agreement that they must be eternally commemorated, if only to remind us of man's cruelty to other members of his species; what Sigmund Freud called those occasions "when man played the wolf to man."
At long last, and some would say after far too long a wait, two new sites of what today would be among the worst examples of crimes against humanity will soon be recognized in the western hemisphere. And the odds are that you have never heard of either of them.
Several slave merchants held their newly-imported human cargo in warehouses at Gadsden's Wharf well into the spring of 1808, in an effort to drive prices higher as the last legally-imported supply of fresh human chattel dwindled.
Gadsden's Wharf: Charleston, South Carolina, USA.
Charleston is the place where nearly half of all enslaved Africans brought to America first set foot on U.S. soil. Some experts believe that as many as 80 percent of African Americans can trace an ancestor back to the wharf.
According to Dr. Nic Butler in his "The Story of Gadsden's Wharf," the area was originally "a brackish marsh that was washed by daily tides." In 1720, Thomas Gadsden, a merchant, purchased 63 acres of the land from Isaac Mazyck, who had received a grant of 90 acres along the Cooper River in 1696. Seven years later Gadsden sold it to Captain George Anson. Three decades later, Christopher Gadsden, the son of Thomas, bought back most of the land and set about improving his property, buying more land and constructing his own wharf.
By 1769, he advertised for 12 "strong able bodied country negroes who can handle the spade...for whom he will allow very good wages." Even at this date, Charleston was already thick with slave dealers.
By 1800, there were rumors of a coming federal ban on the importing of enslaved Africans. Gadsden's Wharf's infamy was approaching, greatly aided by time, circumstance, and opportunity.