In 1859, one of the largest slave sales in U.S. history took place at the Ten Broeck Race Course, now an obscured landscape, on the outskirts of Savannah, Georgia. 436 enslaved persons from the Butler plantations near Darien were sold in an event remembered as “The Weeping Time.” Despite the prevalence of historic monuments in the U.S. South, memorials to slavery are rare or recent arrivals. Not until 2008 did the city of Savannah and the Georgia Historical Society place a marker near the site of the sale. In this essay, Kwesi DeGraft-Hanson examines how this once hidden landscape can be re-imagined into Savannah’s historic memory through archival research, oral history, physical observations of the landscape, and the art of mapmaking.
The Weeping Time