Slave Auction, Richmond, Virginia, 1853


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This record was last updated on 17 Dec 2009

Image Reference
NW0276

Source
The Illustrated London News (Sept. 27, 1856), vol. 29, p. 315. (Copy in Special Collections Department, University of Virginia Library; also, Library of Congress, KC-USZ62-15398)

Comments
Shows a woman being auctioned in front of a crowd of white onlookers and bidders; other slaves to be auctioned in the background. This engraving was made from an eyewitness sketch by the English artist Eyre Crowe who observed the auction on March 3, 1853. This and another sketch (see image NW0278), Crowe reports, "was took on the spot," and writes how the auctions "take place in rooms on the ground floor. . . . Outside the doors are hung small garish flags of blood red, upon which are pinned small manuscript descriptions of the negroes to be disposed of . . . . . As you enter you see what we have endeavored to sketch . . . . an eye-bepatched and ruffianly-looking fellow in check trousers and grimy in every part of his person, with no hammer in his hand . . . [who] takes the swelling bids, . . . . with uplifted finger": he calls out the money bids up to 1200 dollars, "which is generally the most a negro fetches" (p. 314).