SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — It happened in Savannah beginning 159 years ago today. What is believed to be the largest slave auction held in the United States began on March 2, 1857.

Historians say 436 men women and children were sold and that there were so many slaves being auctioned off that the sale took two days to accomplish.

Local organizers marked the event Friday at a spot in west Savannah which is near the area where the auction was held.  At the time the auction site was a race track.

A marker now sits near a bus stop that remembers what is referred to as “The Weeping Time.”

It’s said that the weather was bright and sunny before the auction began, but when the sale of slaves started that it began to rain–and the rain never stopped until the auction ended the next day.

A group of school children from Otis Brock Elementary School marched to the spot Friday.

The students and adults will commemorate the sale and honored the slaves who were sold that day.

Part of the ceremony included holding up black umbrellas as a symbol of the rain from those days more than 150 years ago and as a symbol of the “dark time” of slavery.

Savannah Mayor Eddie Deloach and former Mayor Otis Johnson also marched with the children to the marker.