Articles Sell Best Singly: The Disruption of Slave Families at Court Sales
50 Pages Posted: 2 Apr 2010 Last revised: 4 Aug 2020
Date Written: 1996
This legal history article presents the empirical finding that the risk of family separation at slave auctions was higher at court-ordered and court-supervised sales as compared with private sales of capitalist auctioneers. The article also examines legal and ideological justification for the destruction of slave families. Law served to disguise human agency in the breakup of slave families.
This article builds upon the author’s earlier finding that a majority of slave auctions in South Carolina were conducted by the courts. The data for this article and the previous study were drawn from antebellum primary sources including trial-court records, the salesbooks of sheriffs, and records of masters in chancery.
Keywords: Antebellum, Antiracism, Auctions, Black Lives Matter, BLM, Chancery, Empirical, Family Separation, Family, Ideology, Institutional Racism, Legal history, Quantitative, Sheriffs, Slave auctions, Slavery, South Carolina, Systemic Racism, Trial Courts,
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