Not So Wordless Wednesday: You Never Know When The Tears Will Come

Two Sundays ago, while reading Crafting Lives by Catherine Bishir I had one of those moments when your heart drops and you can't help but feel incredible sadness for those who suffered the indignities of slavery. You would think it was because I read a narrative about something terrible that happened to someone or seeing people listed as property in a will. It was nothing like that. It was something very simple.

From page 154

Image courtesy of  Crafting Lives, by Catherine Bishir
Sketch map of New Bern, 1864. Drawn by C. A. Nelson

This sketch drawing gives a depiction of key buildings that stood in New Bern in 1864. So what moved me so. I will show you.

This simple notation of where the slave market was located in 1860 just moved me to tears.  This was that place...that dreadful place where some of my ancestors were bought and sold as property. 

What does this spot look like now?

Image courtesy of Google Maps.
New Bern, NC 2013

Street view 2013:

Image courtesy of Google Maps

Straight ahead where the car is waiting at the intersection is approximately where the slave market would have been. On a side note, when my maternal great grandfather John T. Harrison was a young man, he used to work at one of Caleb Bradham's Pharmacies in New Bern. There were two locations, one of which is now the Chelsea Restaurant which is shown on the corner on the left. If this is the location where my great grandfather worked, I wonder what were his thoughts about this space he walked by each day on his way to work.  What stories had he been told? 


  1. I wonder if the people who live and work near the spot know the history.

    1. That's a good question LindaRe. I wonder the same thing.

  2. I wonder too? In 1860 it looked like some "Back Alley" side street on that map.

    1. Hi True. Believe it or not the road it was on was and still is a main road in New Bern called Broad St. There's a notation on the map "Scales" on the next block in front of where the slave market was, I believe that is referring to the second courthouse building that once stood there but was destroyed by fire.

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  4. Great Post Andrea! You captured New Bern in 1864 and present day (2013) well. Putting this all together visually is a WOW! We certainly understand the feeling; this is a history that cannot be erased. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hi Andrea...interesting info. I live about a mile or two from the place where slaves were sold here in Baltimore. The spot where slaves were sold was a place of great activity when I was growing up; there was a market place and outdoor mall. Now that I reflect on what took place some years ago moves me too.

    1. It is moving isn't it. It just made it ever more real for me. Thanks for your comment.


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