SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s a dark, but meaningful point in Southeast Georgia’s history — The Weeping Time.
It was a two-day-long sale of enslaved people which happened in Savannah back in 1859.
On Saturday, a ceremony remembering The Weeping Time was held virtually, a way to honor the 436 enslaved people sold.
“We come to this space and place to commemorate what happened 162 years ago.”
A virtual ceremony, remembering the largest slave auction in the United States.
“They said it was such an atrocious act that the heavens burst open and it rained for two days.”
March 2nd through 3rd in 1859, The Weeping Time, a two-day-long sale of enslaved people, who were brought from Butler Island in McIntosh County to west Savannah.
“In Savannah, they were kept for days in horse stalls at the former Ten Broeck racecourse on the city’s west side,” said Kwesi DeGraft-Hanson, founder of the Organization to Commemorate Enslaved African American Nationals.
Men, women, children, babies sold to different families.
“There were people from everywhere coming to purchase human beings, our ancestors.”
“Today their descendants reach well beyond the bounds of even this country,” said DeGraft-Hanson.
“The Primus Family sold for $2,500 on that day. Thank you for the opportunity to honor my ancestors,” said Kiplyn Primus, the ceremony organizer.
Names of those sold were read, a way to remember their ancestors.
“There’s something very clarifying about understanding where you come from, and looking back doesn’t hold you back,” said Anne Bailey, an author.
“Because history helps us know how to move forward.”
Ceremony organizers say it’s not about pointing fingers.
“But to join hands and hearts in unity,” said DeGraft-Hanson.
Uniting to honor our history.
“Black history is America’s history, and certainly Savannah’s history is America’s history,” said Mayor Van Johnson.
The slave auction was a way to settle the gambling debts for the owner of the Butler Plantation in Darien.