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Slave auction block

This photo (ca. 1900-1910) shows an old slave auction block in the St. Louis Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Understanding the economic details of slave sales is important, but educators can also push their students to contemplate what George or Milly might have experienced on an auction block in a locale such as New Orleans. At this juncture, historical images of slave auctions could be shown, perhaps read alongside accounts provide by the American Slave Narrative project, available online. These slave narratives provide detailed remembrances of the sale process. The slave pens, where slaves were held before and after auctions, have been described as particularly horrid. Walter Johnson in his study of the New Orleans slave market states, “The walls surrounding the pens were so high-fifteen or twenty feet-that one New Orleans slave dealer thought they could keep out the wind”(2). Despite this brutal environment, slaves were still pushed to lie and cajole possible purchasers at a moment’s notice. Johnson contends, “Slaves who had run away or been ill were told to hide their histories”(130).

Family disruption

This image tries to capture the feelings and emotions of when "A Slave Father [Is] Sold Away From His Family."

In addition, educators can use the bills of sale as a transition into a discussion of slave families. A sale often meant the breaking up of a family arrangement. Using sources such as Ann Patton Malone’s Sweet Chariot (1992) and Larry Hudson, Jr.’s To Have and to Hold (1997), educators can describe how slaves were able to form loving family situations. Then, the threat of sale can be placed alongside other forms of brutality used against enslaved peoples. As Hudson, Jr. states, “A common tactic used by planters to control their labor force was the threat of sale”(168). Furthermore, those individuals being sold, such as George or Milly, would then face the challenge of establishing a new life in a foreign locale. Students can be asked to contemplate how the sale process from threat to relocation could have impacted daily life for an enslaved individual. As an addition to the above exercise, educators can assign one of the many lesser known studies of individual slave experiences, such as In Search of the Promised Land (2006), the story of Sally Thomas’s quest for a free family life.


Bergrad, Laird, and García, Fe Iglesias, and Barcia, María del Carmen. The Cuban Slave Market, 1790-1880 . New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Franklin, John Hope and Loren Schweninger. In Search of the Promised Land: A Slave Family in the Old South . New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Hudson, Jr., Larry E. To Have and to Hold: Slave Work and Family Life in Antebellum South Carolina . Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1997.

Johnson, Walter. Soul by Soul: Life Inside the Antebellum Slave Market . Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999.

Jones, Jacqueline. Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family, from Slavery to the Present . New York: Vintage Books, 1985.

Malone, Ann Patton. Sweet Chariot: Slave Family and Household Structure in Nineteenth-Century Louisiana . Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1992.

Stevenson, Brenda E. Life in Black and White: Family and Community in the Slave South . New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Questions & Answers

Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
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What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
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Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
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what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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