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Slaves Waiting for SaleAbolitionist Art and the American Slave Trade$
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Maurie D. McInnis

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226559339

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226559322.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Slaves Waiting for Sale
University of Chicago Press

This introductory chapter begins with an analysis of Eyre Crowe’s painting, Slaves Waiting for Sale, Richmond, Virginia. It argues that Crowe sought to convey the depth and complexity of the horrors of slavery by presenting an entirely different scene: not the moment of the auction, by now so well rehearsed in the minds of viewers, but the moments before. The shift in timing alone forced viewers to consider the topic anew. Instead of drawing attention to the auctioneer and the buyers, Crowe focused primarily on the enslaved. The chapter then sets out the book’s purpose, which is to capture the context needed in order to understand Crowe’s images today. In exploring the images created by Crowe and other artists, the chapters that follow explain how those works helped viewers to see the American slave trade and to understand slavery in new ways.

Keywords:   eyre crowe, american slavery, slave trade, slave auctions, slaves

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