The US has a long and gruesome history of slavery that has affected almost every part of its culture. Children in school learn the harsh circumstances that slaves were forced to live with and the incredible cruelty white slave owners showed them. American history teachers know how important it is to teach the horrors of slavery—not only so the mistakes of the past aren’t repeated but because the long-term oppression and cruelty toward black people extends even to modern times in important cultural issues such as police brutality and a cycle of poverty that is directly linked to racism caused by slavery.
What isn’t often taught is that there were many black people who not only participated in the slave trade but who often profited greatly from it. They owned slaves as property in order to enhance their own economical well-being by having free labor for their plantations. Many were biracial children of former white masters and were either freed or were left some property in a will. The American South is infamous for using slaves on their large plantations, and many of the black slave owners on this list are from South Carolina and Louisiana. Some were considered slave magnates (for owning more than 50 slaves), but others earned their place simply for their unique stories.