Southern Slaveholders Who Invested in Minnesota is a database of enslavers from southern states who purchased land or portions of businesses in Minnesota. Each investor’s page contains information on where they lived, how they invested in Minnesota, and the ages, genders and names of African Americans who were enslaved by the investor. The database ranges from the establishment of Minnesota Territory in 1849 to the end of legal slavery with the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. Minnesota was a free territory from 1849 until the Dred Scott US Supreme Court decision in 1857 turned it into a slave territory. It was a free state from 1858 onward, but southern enslavers traveled there to purchase lots and blocks of land before and well after 1858. As a result, their wealth from slave labor provided income to communities throughout Minnesota. This website honors the labor of the enslaved people by individually naming them.
This list is an attempt to determine which enslaved people contributed to each landowner’s wealth up to the time of the purchase of the real estate. The database especially focuses on enslaved people who were held at the time that an owner acquired land.
This website is maintained by Dr. Christopher P. Lehman of the Ethnic & Women’s Studies Department at St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, Minnesota. He is the author of the book Slavery in the Upper Mississippi Valley, the upcoming book Southern Reach: Southern Slaveholders in the North Star State, and several articles on slavery and segregation in Minnesota.