Finances of Slavery

Enslaved people represented property and monetary value during the antebellum period. Due to this, many resources dealing with slavery document its existence in financial terms. Many important contributors to the University of Georgia’s history held connections to, and financially benefited from, slavery. In an early Board of Trustees Meeting in 1800, the enslaved people of a member of the Senatus Academicus are mentioned. Probate and will records of Alonzo Church, who worked as a professor and president of the University of Georgia, list the people he enslaved. Further, in the Prudential Committee Meeting Minutes, there are descriptions of houses and privies for enslaved people on both the president’s lot and a professor’s lot.

While the University of Georgia did not own enslaved people, it did participate in the hiring out system, in which one party hires enslaved people from an enslaver for their use. This system is seen in Benjamin Pope's Account Book, which shows a log of enslaved people being hired for various jobs. The Board of Trustees Minutes, contributing to the majority of the resources found in this project, highlights this hiring out system in their list of yearly expenses, which includes “servant” or “negro” hire. In the Prudential Committee Minutes, it is documented that the school hired some of these enslaved people from Mrs. Sarah H. Harris. Part of the students’ tuition and fees included “servant’s hire” according to an 1839-1840 Catalogue published in the Southern Banner.