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  #1  
Old 12-01-2002, 12:18 PM
Pantone Swatchbook Pantone Swatchbook is offline
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how were slaves "bred"?

inspired by the other thread about slaves:

As I understand it, American slaves of African origin were bred according to excellent physical characteristics - strength, durability, health - but what practices did slaveowners use to mate men and women? Did they just take a healthy male and put him in a room with a healthy female to go at it or did they arrange some form of marriage for them (even if not legally bound)? What if the female did not approve of her sexual partner? Was she raped? What if the male did not approve of his sexual partner, or had "difficulties" in copulating? What if either one was already emotionally and romantically attached to other slaves and did not wish to have sex with another?

I guess all these were moot points considering the little human rights that were granted to slaves; but I am curious about the emotional and sociological aspects of forced breeding for humans.
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  #2  
Old 12-01-2002, 01:11 PM
astro astro is offline
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The Breeding of Slaves
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These Mulatto women were also often sold into prostitution. This was particular the case in the French Quarters of New Orleans were some slave owners even resorted to placing ads in college newspapers for White students to come by the plantation for sex. Students were paid as much as $20 to impregnate a Black slave.

The second type of slave that was in demand was the strong male and female slave that was used as a laborer. Many were forced to breed in order to produce superior offspring. Many selected women conceived twenty or more children for this purpose. Both male and female slaves were routinely paraded naked before White audiences to be sold to the highest bidder.
Slave Breeding

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The death-rate amongst slaves was high. To replace their losses, plantation owners encouraged the slaves to have children. Child-bearing started around the age of thirteen, and by twenty the women slaves would be expected to have four or five children. To encourage child-bearing some population owners promised women slaves their freedom after they had produced fifteen children.

Young women were often advertised for sale as "good breeding stock". To encourage child-bearing some population owners promised women slaves their freedom after they had produced fifteen children. One slave trader from Virginia boasted that his successful breeding policies enabled him to sell 6,000 slave children a year.
BACK IN BLACK

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I don't remember the days of slavery, but I got some remedial education reading her chapters on plantation life, the breeding of slaves and how it was for men and women. If I didn't know then, now I do. Black experience in the diaspora is far and wide, timeless and familiar.

Of course, there's the expected sufferation, like from interviewee Austin Grant: "They didn't give us nothin', I tell you, but a grubbin' hoe and axe and the whip."

But there are also the sidewinders, like from Florence Napier: "Ise sho 'joy myse'f on de old plantation, an' weuns all had a good time."

You wanna talk about sistahs with 'tude? Check out Mandy Morrow talking about her string of marriages, the last of which began in 1920: "If I wants de pet, den I's gits de dawg or de cat. Shucks! It don't tooks me long. When dey don't satisfy dis nigger, I's transpo't dem."

And if we want a different context to indulge the mythology of the voracious black sexual appetite, then consider the circumstance Lewis Jones was born into: "My pappy am the breeding nigger. When I's meet a cullud person on dat plantation, I's sho mos'ly dat it am my brudder or sistah." His father had roughly 50 kids -- that Jones knew of and could count off- hand.

These folks are neither meek nor short of words when they get to throwing it down, live and direct
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  #3  
Old 12-01-2002, 02:42 PM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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Re: how were slaves "bred"?

Quote:
Originally posted by Pantone Swatchbook
As I understand it, American slaves of African origin were bred according to excellent physical characteristics - strength, durability, health - but what practices did slaveowners use to mate men and women?
Well, sometimes a white owner just bought females slaves and "bred" them himself... Since the result would them be a mulatto, quadroon, or octroon, if the the result was female the owner would wind up with an extremely valuable slave that could be sold into prostitution (in other words - yes, the owner would sell his own daughters for a profit. Of course, he didn't regard them as his daughters. Legally, he could have sex with those girls and sell his granddaughters, too)

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Did they just take a healthy male and put him in a room with a healthy female to go at it or did they arrange some form of marriage for them (even if not legally bound)?
Ya gotta understand -- the American system of slavery evolved rapidly into a situation where the slaves were viewed as livestock. Even to the point of breeding records for the slaves being kept in the same sort of studbooks used for horses and cattle.

Does a farmer "marry" cow and bull, mare and stallion? There was no recognition of marriage between slaves by any level of government or society. Yes, slaves "jumped the broom" and married in that sense, but at any time such joinings could be ripped apart by having spouses sold off, and the white males had total and unrestricted access to the black women, whether they or their men protested or not.

Yes, I'm sure the two healthy people locked in a room sceanario took place many times. Given that the alternative might have been forcible rape by the owner, maybe some folks even preferred that, if "preferred" could be used between two bad choices. But, remember - there was no social penalty for sex between slaves when ordered by the master. Indeed, since a woman's fertility would make her more valuable, she might even see some advantage in it. Just more of the horrible psychological cost of slavery.

Quote:
What if the female did not approve of her sexual partner?
Irrelvant. She had no say in these matters. Remember, legally she wasn't considered a human being - her status is that of a cow or mare used for breeding.

Quote:
Was she raped?
Happened all the time.

Quote:
What if the male did not approve of his sexual partner, or had "difficulties" in copulating?
What do you do with a stud animal that is no longer able to perform studly duties? If the man was still capable of labor he might be kept for that, but his value -- and possibly how well he was treated -- might be considerably less. The owner could do anything he wanted to a slave that didn't do as asked - including execution.

Quote:
What if either one was already emotionally and romantically attached to other slaves and did not wish to have sex with another?
Absolutely irrelevant. Remember, these people had the legal status of livestock. Who cares if Bessie the Cow prefers Tom the Bull over Jake the Bull? The personal feelings of the slaves was of no consequence to those who bred other human beings for profit.

Granted, not all plantations or owners were worst-case sceanario. Many slave owners found sex with their own slaves repugnant or immoral. Certainly many understood that if they DID father children on the women slaves those children were their children (in some cases, these children were freed and sent north). Some made keeping the family unit intact a reward for good behavior. Which in no way excuses the practice, just pointing out there was a wide variation in how slaves were actually treated. But legally, all the horrors listed above were possible, and did happen to many people.
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  #4  
Old 12-01-2002, 03:11 PM
istara istara is offline
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Fucking hell. I never knew any of this stuff. I had no idea breeding, selling into prostitution ever went on. Slavery was horrific enough - and now I find out this.

God. We are such fucked, evil beings.
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  #5  
Old 12-01-2002, 05:37 PM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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What the heck, maybe I could also mention that castration was used to make a "difficult" male more docile.

Yes, human beings are capable of remarkable evil.
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  #6  
Old 12-01-2002, 07:21 PM
effac3d effac3d is offline
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I"m sure it happened,but was there ever a documentd case of a slave owner marrying a owned slave and publically calling the children his/her own?

Could women own slaves?
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  #7  
Old 12-01-2002, 07:33 PM
Mighty_Girl Mighty_Girl is offline
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Frigging hell! This is a side of slavery in the US that I had never heard of. I had just figured that slaves kinda had a "regular partner" and they had some kind of family unit. Boy, humans have just dropped another 10 points in my scaled of fuckedness.
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  #8  
Old 12-01-2002, 08:07 PM
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Wait, wait, here. No offense, but a few of those early cites sound pretty dubious, based on their misuse of grammar and such. According to my American Studies professor, the US slave population became self-sufficient fairly early on; that is, without external influences. From my understanding, the concept of "slave breeding" may just be based on the fact that slaves would have been purchased due to physical qualities. While there was certainly some "unnatural selection" due to these decisions, its not as if the planters were carrying on bizarre genetics experiments with their slaves. I'd suspect that "breeding" amongst slaves took place much as it does amongst non-slaves, involving courtship rituals and the like. As well, doing something so cruel and humiliating, and disrupting sexual couplings, etc, etc, seems like it would have far more detriment than benefit...this seems like the kind of thing that would have been conducive to revolts, rather than keeping things moving smoothly for the slave owner.

Now, I fully conceded that I may be wrong, but logic suggests that this doesn't make all that much sense.
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  #9  
Old 12-01-2002, 08:08 PM
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Oh, and my "misuse of grammar" comment wasn't a snide remark about the "slave grammar" used in some of the direct quotes -- I was referring to astro's first cite (referring to such things as the "French Quarters", using "were" instead of "where", etc.)

Carry on.
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  #10  
Old 12-01-2002, 11:04 PM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
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Astro--

Who is Kevin Hallaway and why is he and expert in Slavery? A Google on his unusual name produced nothing of note.

As a fellow Marylander, I have long heard that Salisbury was the center of slave breeding. I would like to see proof.

Certainly in a few centuries of slavery somedarnbody bred slaves. On the other hand, having a farm that did nothign but raise little black (or "high-yellow") babies seems wasteful.

I am 45 years old. If I impregnated a slave today, I could sell the resultant daught er in say ten or twelve years? I would rather go for the quick profit of raising some crops and selling slaves as they come. Breeding would be a by-product.

Frankly all of this sounds like some sort of sick sexual fantasy. It seems to be an urban legand. Still I am willing to be convinced.

Any more information on this from reputable sources?
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  #11  
Old 12-02-2002, 12:13 AM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Paul in Saudi
Who is Kevin Hallaway and why is he and expert in Slavery?
According to his front page, he's a "wide-eyed, sanctified, blood bought, spirit taught, Bible totin', scripture quotin', Satan bashin', sin trashin', Christ followin', pride shallowin, hard prayin', truth conveyin', faith walkin', Gospel takin', Big Time Believer and proud of it.". Don't miss his debunking of the theory of evolution.

(Not that it's impossible for someone to be an authority on a particular subject and yet still believe that there are faeries living at the bottom of their garden...)

That being said, his unsubstantiated allegations and absurd generalizations relating to more recent history lessen my inclination to take him at his word somewhat:
Quote:
For forty years, some Black leaders have illegally accepted money from the Democratic party and have ignored the real problems within the Black community. Democratic leaders pad the pockets of church pastors and elders in exchange for votes. Other leaders have become poverty pimps who exploit the issue or race and poverty in America. For forty years, Blacks have dedicated themselves to a party that advocates abortion at anytime, homosexuality as an alternate lifestype, condoms instead of abstinence, needles instead of just say no, jobs programs instead of quality schools, welfare instead of responsibility, and lying to obtain victory. For forty straight years, the conditions of Black America have gotten worse and Blacks continue to blindly vote for the people who caused these problems in the first place, liberal Democrats.
Uh...
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  #12  
Old 12-02-2002, 12:14 AM
astro astro is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Paul in Saudi
Astro--

Who is Kevin Hallaway and why is he and expert in Slavery? A Google on his unusual name produced nothing of note.

As a fellow Marylander, I have long heard that Salisbury was the center of slave breeding. I would like to see proof. Certainly in a few centuries of slavery somedarnbody bred slaves. On the other hand, having a farm that did nothign but raise little black (or "high-yellow") babies seems wasteful.

I am 45 years old. If I impregnated a slave today, I could sell the resultant daught er in say ten or twelve years? I would rather go for the quick profit of raising some crops and selling slaves as they come. Breeding would be a by-product.

Frankly all of this sounds like some sort of sick sexual fantasy. It seems to be an urban legand. Still I am willing to be convinced.

Any more information on this from reputable sources?
1: Re Kevin Halladay what you see is what I Googled up. You are welcome to jump in the Google pond too and do additional research.

2: I only came to Salisbury in 1986, but with respect to Salisbury being a center for slave breeding I have never heard this. In addition to being the bread and seafood basket for the East coast in the 1800's and 1900's we did have a Civil War Prison camp where many prisoners starved to death. Beyond this I would have to dig for the info in local archives and I am not so inclined, but you are welcome to come down and do research if you would like.

3: I don't think the farms were exclusively breeding farms for human slaves. They were working farms that happened to produce an excess of slave children/adolescents beyond the needs of the farm and these were sold.

4: While it is true that some people may make exaggerated claims for the scope of a particular heinous activity it is not all that unlikely that these things happened to some slaves, on some farms at some time(s). Why do you think it is beyond the bounds of human behavior for an owner to impregnate his own slaves? Slave owners have been doing this since time immemorial. Slave treatment under southern slavery was less harsh in many respects to the way other conquered peoples were treated throughout history, with castration of all males of a conquered population over a certain age being a matter of course in some instances. The really offensive thing about American slavery (historically) was the way it made and institutionalized the slave not just a conquered person, but a sub-human chattle whose natural destiny was to be property. That was new.

Our modern moral sentiments about the natural rights of man and equality between men is very recent and to the extent it existed the black man was not a member of that "members only" club. Black people were considered to be chattle. At the furtherest end of the attitude spectrum why should I care if my cow has calves I helped make. This is/was a reprehensible attitude from a modern perspective but may have simply been practical farming to a plantation owner. To the farmer they are still just animals and improving the breed was just good animal husbandry.
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  #13  
Old 12-02-2002, 12:37 AM
astro astro is offline
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Thanks for the link Larry. In re-reading the page from Kevin Hollaway I found and linked initially, as it appeared to have something to say on the subject, there is nothing there that I can see, with the possible exception of the "college boys paid to impregnate" assertion, which has not been confirmed in at least half a dozen other histories of slavery I have read. Hollaway may be a fundie loon re evolution but his synopsis of slave breeding and how slaves were treated seems to be fairly reasonable.

Here is his cited bibliography
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  #14  
Old 12-02-2002, 01:27 AM
Larry Mudd Larry Mudd is offline
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Quote:
there is nothing there that I can see [...] which has not been confirmed...
One thing that stands out:
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However, most of the slaves were Christian and conducted their own marriage ceremonies.
False on the face of it. Indoctrination into christianity was far from the norm, and as I understand it, the 19th century was well underway before you started seeing many "Christianized" slaves -- and this as a result of Rev. Charles Colcock Jones' cynical scheme to discourage slave revolt.

Absent any contemporary accounts to support it, I'm not quite ready to believe that "both male and female slaves were routinely paraded naked before White audiences to be sold to the highest bidder," either.

Slavery is ugly, and its institution is north america was even uglier than many other forms. Adding hyperbole to history serves no one, and I've never understood the appeal of it. With such a litany of abuses, why embellish? For the same reason people seem to need to believe in the more recent "Lampshades and Soap" stories, in my opinion. It creates a sort of a safety-buffer. "The people who commited those atrocities were capable of any atrocity. They weren't even human. Certainly no one I know could do anything so evil. And positively not me."

That such things come about as a result of something as banal as economic convenience is just too horrible to acknowledge.
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  #15  
Old 12-02-2002, 02:29 AM
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Without denying ANY of the above, it should be pointed out that the practice of slavery varied A LOT from place to place and time to time. Some owners allowed and even encouraged something approximating normalcy for their slaves, ie, marriage, churches, etc.

Mind you, this wasn't always done with the best of intentions; many owners operated under the theory that happy slaves worked harder or didn't run away. You don't beat them for the same reason you don't whip your own horse to death. The psychological impact of "good" slavery was different, but of course, no less insidious.
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Old 12-02-2002, 05:08 AM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by effac3d
I"m sure it happened,but was there ever a documentd case of a slave owner marrying a owned slave and publically calling the children his/her own?
I don't have a specific cite... but probably. This would have been complicatd by laws against mixed-race marriage, but those laws were by no means universal. Certainly, there were many instances where slaves were known and acknowledge offspring of the owner or his close relatives, but marriage to the woman in involved would be extremely rare and perhaps of no legal standing.

There's a family in Illinois who are descended from a black man who was freed, moved to Illinois and took up a trade, saved his money, and went back and bought his wife and children from his former owner... but that's probably not what you meant.

Quote:
Could women own slaves?
In those states where women were allowed to own property (which was not a universal right until recently) yes, they could and did own slaves.

Quote:
Originally posted by effac3d
Frigging hell! This is a side of slavery in the US that I had never heard of. I had just figured that slaves kinda had a "regular partner" and they had some kind of family unit.
In some places they did, in fact, have some semblance of a normal family life. Slavery varied enormously from place to place even under the same laws. There was enormous difference between life as one of just a few slaves (or as the only slave) of a middle-class family, and life on one of the enormous plantations with thousands of slaves. There was a vast difference between being a laborer in the fields versus a house slave versus a slave with a trade (in the south, many slaves were trained as masons, blacksmiths, and other skilled trades). There was a huge difference between living under a master who viewed blacks as literal animals and one who viewed them as an inferior type of human. The slaves of Thomas Jefferson lived in brick houses and materially might have been better off than some poor whites. The slaves of other folks lived in drafty shacks and horribly primative conditions.

Quote:
Originally posted by occ
As well, doing something so cruel and humiliating, and disrupting sexual couplings, etc, etc, seems like it would have far more detriment than benefit...this seems like the kind of thing that would have been conducive to revolts, rather than keeping things moving smoothly for the slave owner.
A master could inspire enormous loyalty just by being less cruel than his near neighbors, and use the threat of being sold to a nortoriously cruel master to keep order.

Yes, it was cruel and humiliating. But it happened. Remember, the owner has the power of life and death. He could torture a slave if he chose. Just because he felt like it.

If you want another cite for these goings-on, Alex Haley in Roots relates the story of his ancestress Kizzy (I think that's the spelling) who was sold away from her parents for the "crime" of learning to read. She was sold to a man who could only afford one slave (if I recall... it's been a long time since I read the book) and delibrately raped her to obtain more slaves. Keep in mind that a 5 or 6 year old is capable of performing some labor, even if it's not heavy labor. It only took about 5 years to get a salable "crop", as slave children were commonly sold as well as the adults.

I don't think there were any farms where slave breeding was the main activity, but it could be a profitable side-line.

Mr. Haley was also taken aback when doing his research at having to look in the animal studbooks to trace his family. Granted, some aspects of the book are reconstructions of events, but it was based on factual evidence.

Malcolm X's grandmother was raped by her owner as well, although I don't know if that was a delibrate attempt to get more slaves, plain and simple lust, or punishment of some sort.

Was this sort of stuff universal? No. Did it happen? Yes.

As hard as it is for someone like me, who's family arrived in the US well after the end of this horror, to look at this, it's a lot worse for the descendants of those involved. A lot of whites these days don't want to admit their great-grandparents acted with such cruelty, and blacks have to deal with being related to the perpetrators of such horrors. Which is one reason race relations in the country are such a mess.
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Old 12-02-2002, 05:57 AM
chula chula is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Broomstick
I don't have a specific cite... but probably. This would have been complicatd by laws against mixed-race marriage, but those laws were by no means universal. Certainly, there were many instances where slaves were known and acknowledge offspring of the owner or his close relatives, but marriage to the woman in involved would be extremely rare and perhaps of no legal standing.
Weren't the laws against interracial marriage pretty close to universal, especially in the South? I found a cite that says that 33 states had these laws. Considering how many states there were at the time, it looks like a solid majority. I also found a cite that says Pennsylvania was the first state to allow interracial marriage, in 1780, which implies it was illegal everywhere else. I haven't found any reliable sources, so please correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old 12-02-2002, 06:20 AM
Paul in Qatar Paul in Qatar is offline
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OK, so we are agreed, while almost everything possible happened to some slaves in someplace at sometime, the breeding of slaves for certain traits (strength, lack of intelligence, whatever) is LARGELY a myth.

Astro, love to come to Salisbury. But only in Tomato season. I never leave Saudi Arabia to go anywhere cold. As for the slave breeding center of Salisbury idea; it was put in my undergraduate head by Doctor Eli Burkette at Frostburg State many moons ago.
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Old 12-02-2002, 10:23 AM
Janx Janx is offline
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About acknowledging white offspring as the slave owners children:
I just received this from a friend of mine who is Black. He grew up in the Virgin Islands but has always known that his heritage comes from north American slaves and native Americans, He thought this was interesting and sent it along to me as we are both shaking our family trees and getting into genealogy lately. I have omitted the first 4 letters of the family names involved and replaced them with XXXX as he wasn’t comfortable sending out all the info over a public board.

My friend Jerry, now a days from Sacramento wrote
Quote:
My family comes from union county south Carolina. An area called Fish Dam known to inhabit many native Americans. our family story history begins with a john XXXXdale. he was a large slave owner. over 28 slaves of his own. (1865) my great grandfather was harry XXXXdale he was part native American. he married Mary XXXXkins who was a mix of native American and African American.
As I was told by other white XXXXdales that their was a rift between two brothers in the XXXXdale family. One brother (A) was whipping the slaves and children of the other brother. the XXXXdale brother and father (B) of the slaves did not like for the other brother to whip his children. even though they were slaves he did not like to whip them. So the one brother changed his name to XXXXster. thus harry and Mary XXXXdale changed their name to XXXXster. This is how the XXXXters and the XXXXdales are related.

<SNIP>

Every thing fits with this new Information other than we are descendents of two white slave owners, one who believed in Child abuse and one who did not.
So, it would seem this sort of thing did go on.
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  #20  
Old 12-02-2002, 11:48 PM
js_africanus js_africanus is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by occ
While there was certainly some "unnatural selection" due to these decisions, its not as if the planters were carrying on bizarre genetics experiments with their slaves.
I had an economic history professor whose specialty was the Piedmont during the slave owning time, he did some research on the returns to scale of using slave families in work gangs, for example. He was quite clear that there is no real documentary evidence that eugenics was actively practiced by the slave owners.

His lecture doesn't have a link.
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