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Descendants of The Weeping Time gather

Published: Aug. 12, 2021 at 6:07 PM EDT
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DARIEN, Ga. (WTOC) - The Weeping Time was a two-day long slave auction in 1859, bringing enslaved people from Butler Island in McIntosh County to west Savannah.

Descendants from The Weeping Time gathered in Darien to face their family’s past. On Thursday, descendants of a slave owner and a slave address a part of history they say has been left untold.

As the story goes, March 2 through 3, 1859, the sun didn’t shine in Savannah.

And now, more than 160 years later, people joined together to remember a dark time in Southeast Georgia’s history.

“Roswell King was, in fact, so cruel, it is said in his later years in Roswell, Georgia, he sort of disintegrated psychologically as a result of the cruelty he inflicted on others.”

Virginia teacher Jane Banse learned about another side of her family’s history in 2017 - a side left untold. She’s a descendant of Roswell King, a slave owner who managed Butler Island Plantation for 20 years.

“When I realized that we had left this whole truthful part out because it was uncomfortable, I didn’t see how we could continue that way. I felt that we just really had to tell the whole story,” Banse said.

Banse, along with several descendants of Butler Island slaves, shared stories about The Weeping Time - the largest slave trade in US history.

“That’s what we’re doing now. The history is there but nobody is bringing it to the surface,” a descendent of enslaved, Griffin Lotson said,

They say it’s one step toward reconciliation between different families connected by a dark past.

“Find the truth. This is our story. Find the truth.”

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