Sale and Capture
Treatment of Slaves: Clothing
George A. Avery was an elder in the Congregational Church in Rochester, New York. He spent four years in Virginia, where he made the following observations.
The slave children, very commonly of both sexes, up to the ages of eight and ten years, and I think in some instances beyond this age, go in a state of disgusting nudity. I have often seen them with their tow shirt (their only article of summer clothing) which, to all human appearance, had not been taken off from the time it was first put on, worn off from the bottom upwards, shred by shred, until nothing remained but the straps which passed over their shoulders, and the less exposed portions extending a very little way below the arms, leaving the principal part of the chest, as well as the limbs, entirely uncovered.
From Theodore Dwight Weld, American Slavery As It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses (New York: American Antislavery Society, 1839), 42.