AUCTION SIGN OF AFRICANS (NEGROES)
Signs were posted
throughout the colonies for human cargo available to be sold as slaves.
Born in violence, slavery survived by the lash. Beginning with the initial slave
trade that tore Africans away from everything they knew and sent them in chains to a
distant land to toil for strangers, every stage of master-slave relations depended either
directly or indirectly on physical coercion. The routing functioning of Southern
farms and plantations rested on the authority of the owners and their representatives,
supported by the state, to inflict pain on their human property. Plenty of pain was
inflicted. Slave owners directed especially repressive measures against Africans,
for newly imported slaves offered pervasive resistance to the condition under which they
found themselves. They ignored the Anglicized names their owners awarded them.
One of the slaves' greatest fears was to be sold off and separated from loved ones.
According to Mortimer Thomson,
a newspaper correspondent who covered the Butler sale. "The expression on the
faces of all who stepped on the block was always the same, and told of more anguish than
it is in the power of words to express."
Revised: July 18, 2013.