Robert Glenn

Robert Glenn’s enslaver sold him away from his family at a young age. In this excerpt he describes being put on the auction block three times in one day, while his father and mother attempted to win the auction and purchase him.
See full document • Visit the Library of Congress to see the original document


My father’s time was hired out, and as he knew a trade, he had by working overtime saved up a considerable amount of money. After the speculator, Henry Long, bought me, Mother went to Father and pleaded with him to buy me from him and let the white folks hire me out. No slave could own a slave. Father got the consent and help of his owners to buy me and they asked Long to put me on the block again. Long did so and named his price but when he learned who had bid me off he backed down.

 Later in the day he put me on the block and named another price much higher than the price formerly set. He was asked by the white folks to name his price for his bargain and he did so. I was again put on the auction block and Father bought me in, putting up the cash. Long then flew into a rage and cursed my father saying, ‘You damn black son of a bitch, you think you are white do you? Now just to show you are black, I will not let you have your son at any price.’ Father knew it was all off, Mother was frantic but there was nothing they could do about it. They had to stand and see the speculator put me on his horse behind him and ride away without allowing either of them to tell me goodbye. I figure I was sold three times in one day, as the price asked was offered in each instance. Mother was told under threat of a whipping not to make any outcry when I was carried away. 

Formerly enslaved person
Birth Year (Age)Interviewer
WPA Volunteer
Enslaver’s Name
Robert Glenn1850 (87)T. Pat MatthewsBob Hall, William Moore
Interview LocationResidence StateBirth Location
Raleigh, NCNorth CarolinaHillsboro,  NC
Themes & KeywordsAdditional Tags:
Family, EqualityFirst person, sold, slave traders