Ambitious Moravian plans for Wachovia were constrained in the early years by a small population. Renting labor was a solution and brought the Brethren into direct relationship with enslaved people. A skilled cattle handler in Bethabara, “Sam” was a teenager of African descent who showed an inclination for conversion. When offered for sale by his owner, the lot approved the purchase of Sam in 1769. Thus began the Moravian role as enslaver in North Carolina. The practice of slavery in Wachovia varied. In Salem, slave ownership was limited to the church and a “spiritual fellowship” for Black Moravians was possible.
However, as generations passed, ideas changed, segregation was formalized, and the Salem landscape reflected those dynamics. This paper will explore people and place on the changing landscape of slavery in Salem during the fifty-year period, 1772-1822.