|The Weeping Time: Why Memory Matters|
|When does it start?|
|07/01/2021 @ 6 p.m. ET|
|Event Host and/or Location|
|Christ Church Philadelphia|
|What kind of event is it?|
Anne C. Bailey will speak about her book, The Weeping Time: Memory and the Largest Slave Auction in American History via Zoom, in a public program organized by Christ Church Philadelphia.
July 1, 2021, 6:00 PM
In 1859, on a make-shift auction block at a racetrack near Savannah, GA, more than 400 enslaved men, women, and children were sold by the Butler Plantation estates. Bailey’s book analyzes the operation of that auction, describes the devastating impact of the sale on the African American community that had lived and worked on the Butler family’s Sea Island plantations for generations, and traces the lives of these people before, during, and after the sale.
Drawing on the Butlers’ personal papers, accounts of journalists who witnessed the auction, genealogical records, and oral histories, Bailey weaves together a narrative that brings to life the hundreds of auctions that plagued African Americans throughout the slave era and beyond. With the resilience of African American families as a theme, she includes interviews with the living descendants of enslaved workers sold on the auction block, as they track down far-flung ancestors and locate dispersed family members.
Pierce Mease Butler, who held the 1859 auction, was part of one of the largest slaveholding families in America Butler and his grandfather, Major Pierce Butler, a signer of the Constitution, attended Christ Church Philadelphia and are buried in the churchyard.
This public program is part of a larger initiative within Christ Church to reconstruct and fully understand how the church was involved in the issues of slavery and its legacy. The initiative will include analysis of archival materials such as church baptismal and marriage records and collaboration with other churches and community-based organizations to shape a new response to that history.