SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Community members are coming together for “The Weeping Time,” an event, that marks the 161st Anniversary of the largest recorded sale of enslaved people in United State’s history.
Pamela Oglseby said she was one of the first kids to go to school at Otis J. Brock Elementary during the 60’s, but she said she didn’t know about the hidden history of the slave auction until it was uncovered during a revitalization project in 2006.
On March 2nd and 3rd, in 1859, Pierce M. Butler one of the owners of the Butler plantations auctioned 429 people to slave owners from across the country. Butler, who historians reported owned 900 slaves at the time, held the auction in West Savannah at Ten Broeck, an old track-site where Otis J. Brock III Elementary School , the Organization to Commemorate Enslaved African American Nationals, Solomon Temple, Journey By Faith, the Georgia Historical Society, and Ivory Bay CDC now stand.
Historians reported that it rained for the full two-day auction until the last person was sold—mirroring the tears shed by the hundreds of men, women, and children who were auctioned. Oglseby said she wants the community to reflect on the importance of “The Weeping Time,” and the role it plays in the city’s history.
“It was a horrifying time, but out of all of this something good can and has come and that is that we know about this and we’re now together commemorating,” Oglesby, one of the founding members of The Weeping Time Commemoration Committee, stated.
Local organizations are working together to try to make the first weekend in March the official “Weeping Time Weekend”.