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The Weeping Time Slave Auction: Why Memory Matters

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Author Anne C. Bailey, presents a talk on her book, The Weeping Time Slave Auction: Why Memory matters.

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In 1859, at the largest recorded slave auction in American history, over 400 men, women, and children were sold by the Butler Plantation estates. This book is one of the first to analyze the operation of this auction and trace the lives of slaves before, during, and after their sale. Immersing herself in the personal papers of the Butlers, accounts from journalists that witnessed the auction, genealogical records, and oral histories, Anne C. Bailey weaves together a narrative that brings the auction to life. Demonstrating the resilience of African American families, she includes interviews from the living descendants of slaves sold on the auction block, showing how the memories of slavery have shaped people's lives today. Using the auction as the focal point, The Weeping Time is a compelling and nuanced narrative of one of the most pivotal eras in American history, and how its legacy persists today.

Pierce Butler and his grandson Pierce Mease Butler of the Butler Plantation Estates were one of the largest slaveholders in America. Both Butler and Mease Butler are buried in the Churchyard at Christ Church.

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Organizer Christ Church Preservation Trust

Organizer of The Weeping Time Slave Auction: Why Memory Matters

The Christ Church Preservation Trust is dedicated to ensure the preservation of its historic buildings and burial ground and to strengthen the multiple communities that use historic Christ Church's properties as a place for creative expression, community building, education and personal growth.

 Known as "The Nation's Church" because of the famous Revolution-era leaders who worshiped here, Christ Church was founded in 1695. During the Revolutionary Era, Christ Church welcomed the Continental Congresses. Benjamin and Deborah Franklin and Betsy Ross were parishioners. Later during their presidency, both George Washington and John Adams attended services here. Christ Church is recognized as a National Historic Landmark.

Christ Church Burial Ground, founded in 1719, is one of America’s most interesting Colonial era graveyards, with 1,400 markers on two beautiful acres. The Burial Ground is the final resting place of some of our most prominent leaders including Benjamin Franklin and four other signers of the Declaration of Independence.

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