Slave Auctions on the Courthouse Steps: Court Sales of Slaves in Antebellum South Carolina
Slavery and the Law 329-64 (Paul Finkelman, ed., 1997)
Posted: 17 Aug 2020
Date Written: 1997
In “Slave Auctions on the Courthouse Steps: Court Sales of Slaves in Antebellum South Carolina,” I present my empirical argument that one-half of all slave sales were court-ordered or court-supervised auctions. I base this conclusion on extensive examination of primary sources in South Carolina. This finding puts the courts at the center of the slave trade, and that is why I characterize the judicial system as the state’s greatest slave auctioneering firm.
This piece appeared in Finkelman, ed. Slavery and the Law (Madison: Madison House, 1997) and, in slightly different form, as part of a symposium on The Law of Slavery the Paul Finkelman edited for the Chicago-Kent Law Review in 1993. 68 Chicago-Kent Law Review 1241-82 (1993).
If you have any question or comments about the piece, I would be delighted to hear from you.
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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