The Weeping Time

As Black Americans, we are more than our trauma but I recognize that true healing comes with recognizing our past, acknowledging our pain and moving forward with a purpose that honors our ancestor’s plight.

Opening my umbrella, I held the handle firmly in my hand. I lifted it once over my head, blocking the morning light for only a moment. I lowered the umbrella, thoughtfully breathing in the morning air, trying my best to exhale the anxiety building in my chest. I lifted it again; this time, it went higher; I extended my arm at its full length as I cast my eyes toward the sky. The cool air swirled around my arm, and I felt a slight upward tug. Tightening my grip, I lowered the umbrella again.

I struggled for the third time as a small knot formed in the center of my throat. I blinked a few times as the gravity of what took place 162 years ago overwhelmed me. Over 400 men, women, and children were sold – over 400 souls, 400 people, countless Black families impacted by one of the largest slave auctions in history at Savannah’s Ten Broeck Race Course on March 2 and 3, 1859.

It’s said that rain fell continuously — almost like teardrops from heaven — during this atrocious event. Elders said that it was like, “God, the Beloved, was crying.”

The auction that saw over 400 men, women, and children sold off from the Butler Plantation in McIntosh County and the Hampton Point Plantation on St. Simons Island has been imparted to us by history as The Weeping Time. And as a way to honor those Gullah people who faced such horrific conditions, I stood in solidarity and finally able to raise my umbrella for at least four minutes to recognize the sold enslaved.

As I continue to learn more about my history and connect with various organizations and people centered around Gullah/Geechie culture, I’m even more inspired to dedicate my life to recapturing the retelling of our stories.

Learn more about The Weeping Time. Learn more about and support OCEAN and what they’re doing to bring more awareness to light.

As Black Americans, we are more than our trauma but I recognize that true healing comes with recognizing our past, acknowledging our pain and moving forward with a purpose that honors our ancestor’s plight.

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