- Slave Badge Collection
- Communication Artifact
- Personal Symbol
The Charleston Museum's Slave Badge Collection contains numerous
examples of copper badges worn by enslaved people in Charleston.
Enslavers were required to obtain a badge annually from the city's
treasury office for any enslaved person working outside their domain.
The resulting income from these ancillary services were sometimes kept
by the enslaver completely, divided equally, or, in some recorded instances,
kept by the enslaved laborer entirely. Also included is a copper "Free"
(or "Freedman's") badge, c. 1783. A city ordinance in place from 1783
to 1789 required all free persons of color above the age of fifteen to wear
these badges in plain view.