Thoughts on the Slave Auction

The Slave Auction is a powerful poem that discusses the inhumanity of the slave trade and goes into depth about how it had torn families apart.

One of the most interesting lines in the poem was the line that the only crime the enslaved committed was “was their hue“ (13). Being born of a darker skin color marked a person as being an outcast of society as it could be used against them to not only deny them their basic human rights but also be used to strip away their freedom.

Harper writes how not a single individual is spared from this horrid process, as he shows in vivid details;

And mothers stood, with streaming eyes(5)
And woman, with her love and truth(9)
And men, whose sole crime was their hue (13)
By identifying them as universal figures as men, women and mothers, Harper is not trying to force the readers to sympathize but rather inform them of the plight these people go through and that they suffer the same pains of indignation and despair as anyone else.

Leave a Reply