On Saturday August 7, 2021, at 9:30 AM, Savannah-Chatham County and surrounding areas are invited to participate in the Hungry Club Forum of Savannah, Inc.’s (HCFS) Signature Roundtable and Open Forum entitled, “‘The Weeping Time’ in Historic Savannah, GA, 1859- 2021!” Held virtually, the public may participate, at no cost, by logging in to www.facebook.com/hungryclubforumofsavannah.
The City of Savannah and the status quo have ruled that the issue is “a done deal”, granting the go-ahead green light to the Salvation Army’s plans to erect a homeless shelter on “The Weeping Time” prop- erty. However, an expanding opposing organization, The Weeping Time Coalition, founded and chaired by Pastor Larry J. Gordon, Superintendent of Solomon Temple Church of God and Christ, located a few blocks east of the property, has stepped up its efforts to take the fight to another level, despite the enormous and daunting challenges expected to lie ahead.
Everyone is invited to join in the discussion. The HCFS is eager to present the pros and cons of preserving the Ten Broeck Racecourse property as an historical and community economic landmark for development and growth for the entire community, especially as relates to the people who have traditionally lived in the West Savannah Area community.
In 1859, the term “The Weeping Time” was coined in the language and dialect of the coastal area slaves, four hundred and thirty-six (436) men, women and children, who were auctioned off, or were enslaved in the vicinity and had firsthand knowledge of the sale, or their descendants. It has been passed down and reported in the most cultural and ethnic of ways, that for the whole of the at least two days of the sale, that the heavens opened up and wept (rained), for the abomination and inhumanity of the sale of human beings and the dismantling of families.
On the other hand, the sale, under the auspices of the Georgia Trustees, ordered to pay off the gambling debts of wealthy, but irresponsible, plantation owner Pierce M. Butler, was held at the Ten Broeck Racecourse. Located a quarter of a mile west of downtown, out what is now Augusta Avenue, because the usual downtown preference, Johnson Square, was too small to accommodate the large number of bidders who were recruited from all over the South and beyond. It was a high time of excitement, frolic and entertainment, filling the hotels and bars with a carnival and convention excitement.
On March 3, 2008, 149 years after the infamous sale, the Georgia Historical Society and the City of Savannah unveiled a marker erected to commemorate the sale and to honor the memory of the enslaved men and women who helped to build Savannah, Georgia’s oldest city, founded in 1733. Then-Mayor Otis Johnson was on hand to help commemorate and to consecrate the spot.
Come join in the discussion on whether or not Savannah should cloak and honor this historic piece of history as it has and continues to preserve and protect so many others. For more information, please contact Julia Wright at 912- 661-3781 or Diana Harvey Johnson at 912-927-8425.