Peculiar Affinity: The World the Slave Owners and Their Female Slaves Made
by Gerald S. Nordé, Sr.
Author Reputation Press

"’There was always the fear… that the supply of slaves would become exhausted while the demand was still great.’"

The Congressional Act of 1807 removed the United States from the international slave trade. After 1807, no slaves were imported to the United States from Africa. This limitation made slave owners fear that the supply of slaves would eventually fail to meet the demand. To ensure the supply's continuance, slave owners frequently fathered children of mixed race by their black female slaves. Slaves with proven childbearing ability were highly prized. Advertisements of slaves for sale accentuated such fecundity. These women, of course, enjoyed no reproductive rights. Neither did the white wives of the men who owned and raped the slaves. The wives, too, bore children to the slaveholder. These white and mixed-race children were half-siblings. But the slaveholders only saw their slave-bred children as profit generators, commodities for potential sales. The descendants of these purpose-bred slaves are a modern-day vestige of the overarching and lingering dehumanization of people of color.

Nordé, a black American sociologist, expertly discusses slaveholders' economic reasons for coupling with female slaves to perpetuate the labor supply. He offers a clear explanation about how American slavery had two distinct eras: the international slave era before 1807 when slaves were imported from Africa and the domestic slave era after 1807 when America left the international slave trade. The study excludes the author's own subjective opinions of the practice of slave breeding. In numerous appendices, Nordé helpfully includes the letters and other writings of slaveholders' wives, renowned black Americans, and transcripts of interviews with former slaves to express outrage or additional opinions of slave husbandry. Interestingly, the document explains that, with the abolition of slavery, sex between white and black people became illegal, a historical fact that some readers may be unfamiliar with. Nordé's work could serve as a useful textbook for a black studies or American economics course.

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