For Sale Notices and Receipts
Found in most daily newspapers and periodicals, slave sale notices were the common means by which the sale of an African slave was advertised. Appearing alongside advertisements for land, houses, and farm equipment, these notices convey the status of African slaves in early American society as merely property. Often using words such as “healthy,” and “stout,” these advertisements illustrate a process of dehumanization in which African men, woman, and children are described with the same language used to sell livestock.
In this Slave Notice, we see similar notions at work. Described as a “remarkable smart healthy Negro Wench,” a nameless human being and nine-month-old child were on the open market. It is crucial to note that the baby is sold at the “purchaser’s option,” potentially separating mother and child with the simple stroke of a pen.
Receipt for sale of Orring