Blog Post 7

Museum Label: This sheet of paper is a large, pre-printed bill of sale with handwritten text on both sides. It describes the mortgage of four enslaved people by former owner George Lynes. The names of the enslaved people are S Bella, L Sally, Ben, and L Anthony. The document states that Lynes delivered the enslaved persons to the Master of Equity, James W. Gray, for the price of $660. The document was dated in March 6, 1844. The back of the bill of sale is covered in various signatures which record the witnessing of the mortgage and its entry into the record books in April 1844.

Reflection: I chose this particular document because it is living proof of the simplicity of a transaction but also the horrifying truth that human beings were treated as property to be bought and sold like a plot of land or an animal. Throughout this course, I have gained a better understanding of how important topics like slavery are to our country and some that may disbelive its severity, we have many artifcats that should be displayed to the public for learning, so that we can better understand the plight of our fellow citizens and so that history does not repeat itself. I think it is important for museums to display this information so that we can discuss our history openly. It is important for everybody to try to fully understand the pain and hardship that the enslaved people endured and the lasting effects it had on generations that followed. For example, in high school I was not informed of the gruesome events that took place during this time period. If I knew about these catastrophes it would have changed my whole perspective on the subject and I would have done more research to be better informed on the matter. It is also important to understand that slavery was a practice that was not unique to the United States and did not originate in the United States, rather it was a transcontinental business, in which many Europen and African nations prospered off the sale of men, women and children.  

One thought on “Blog Post 7

  1. This source was a good find and I thought your museum label description was strong and encapsulated both the information about the piece as well as what is described in the bill. I agree that when we come across documents like this, it can be vey striking and makes us stop and think about what it means. It makes the history of slavery more real than reading about it; this is the exact importance of engaging with historical sources. Thank you for your detailed reflections about this assignment as well!

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