Enslaved Disciplinary Items

Dublin Core


Enslaved Disciplinary Items


Items used during slavery


The items in this collection were used on enslaved persons during the period of enslavement in the United States.


Underground Railroad Museum


Director Kristina Estle

Collection Items

Child-Sized Wrist Shackles
These wrist shackles were used on enslaved persons to restrict movement. This pair would have been used on a child.

Cat-O-Nine Tails
This whip-like object was used to whip enslaved people. Its name is derived from the nine leather strips. Typically the ends were knotted.

Branding Iron
This branding iron was used on enslaved people to mark them as their owner's property. Each owner created their own mark, and the enslaved were branded similar to cattle.

Thumb Screw
This thumbscrew was used as a torture device to retrieve information from the enslaved or used as punishment. The screw would crush the knuckle of the finger.

Slave Tag
This slave tag was used for identification purposes. They would have been used when the slave was loaned out for another job or when the slave would have left the plantation to run errands. It was illegal for them to remove it once off the…

Leather Whip
This leather whip was used to punish enslaved people.

Slave Collar
This slave collar contains three metal extension with bells on the end. Every time the enslaved person wearing this collar would move, the bells would ring, alerting others of their location, or it was used as an indicator that the person was…

Slave Collar
This slave collar was placed on a slave who had previously attempted to run away; the long spiked probes would prevent another attempted escape in heavily wooded areas.
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