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Grab and go auctions sold! To the highest bidder the slaves would be brought from the pen, in turn, to stand on a raised platform so that they could be seen by the buyers. The slave auction by frances ellen watkins harper about this poet born in baltimore, poet, fiction writer, journalist, and activist frances ellen watkins harper was the only child of free african american parents. She was raised by her aunt and uncle after her mother died when frances was three years old. I n early march 1859 an enormous slave action took place at the race course three miles outside savannah, georgia. Four hundred thirty-six slaves were to be put on the auction block including men, women, children and infants. Word of the sale had spread through the south for weeks, drawing potential buyers from north and south carolina, virginia, georgia, alabama and louisiana. As the slave ships approached the caribbean, it became important for captains to present the africans in the best possible condition for prospective buyers. Slave auctions show that slaves were not thought of as human beings with human rights. Instead, they were thought of as property, which could be bought or sold. As the slave ships approached the caribbean, it became important for captains to present the africans in the best possible condition for prospective buyers. The sale beganyoung girls were there, defenseless in their wretchedness, whose stifled sobs of deep despair revealed their anguish and distress. And mothers stood, with streaming eyes, and saw their dearest children sold unheeded rose their bitter cries,. In later years the slave auction became an icon of rogers patriotism, but it was never a popular work of art. It remained in his sales catalogue until 1866, but the great rarity of surviving examples suggests that few were sold. The group has enjoyed much better fortunes in its afterlife as an image and an idea in public memory and popular.