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Slave sale to be staged in St. Louis for Civil War sesquicentennial

A memorial at the Zanzibar Anglican Cathedral depicting slaves to be sold at auction. A reenactment of a slave auction is planned in downtown St. Louis on Jan. 15. (Flickr Creative Commons User missy & the universe)

Slave auctions were once commonplace in Missouri. Families were separated, people were property and the event of the auction itself was a harsh one.

In recognition of the sesquicentennial of the Civil War in 2011, the St. Louis American reports on the plan for several local organizations to reenact a slave auction -- right on the steps of the Old Courthouse in downtown St. Louis.

The American reports that over 40 reenactors will travel to be in St. Louis on Jan. 15. At 10 a.m., the event will commence - and, "the facts of slave auctions will not be sugar coated."

Angela da Silva of the National Black Tourism Network is a primary organizer, and re-enactor, for the event.

“We want people to understand the travails black people endured for over 250 years," da Silva said, "This was a commercial venture. There was no humanity in it.”

Da Silva said that there would be “orphan children being sold, and husbands separated from wives."

The auction reenactment will be the first event of the sesquicentennial celebration for the National Black Tourism Network and its partners, including the National Park Service.

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