Corling’s Corner in Petersburg, Virginia, was a site where enslaved blacks were taken and held in slave pens. The slaves would be held until they were sold or hired out.
During the antebellum period, it was quite common for slaves to be hired out to work as domestics and laborers. Most of the slaves worked on local plantations picking tobacco, but when the soil was exhausted, many were sold to plantations further south, while others were rented out locally.
Contractors, manufacturer owners, and private individuals would arrive at Corling’s Corner to inspect and rent the enslaved blacks. One of the biggest local industries during that time was tobacco, and the companies throughout Petersburg used mostly hired slave labor.
At the end of every year, enslaved men and women were hired under a legal contract that set forth the renter’s obligations to the owner. The rental of bondspeople was very common throughout the South before the Civil War.