If you squint your eyes as you look at the computer screen, you can see handwritten script with words such as "Negro child, age 3, named Rose, is sold, to have and to hold …"

Those words, written in ink with flourishes and curls, aren’t fiction. They reflect the ugly realities 150 years ago and beyond, when African-American children, parents and grandparents in Buncombe County were bought and sold alongside pieces of real estate, wagonloads of cotton or a prized hog or heifer.

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