Only one adequate plan has ever appeared in the world, and that is the Christian dispensation.
John Jay - First US Supreme Court Chief Justice
Wednesday's Word: African American History - Slave Marriage

Wednesday's Word

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Saturday, March 08, 2014

African American History - Slave Marriage



One area of their lives in which slaves were able to exercise some autonomy from their masters was creating a family. Slave owners felt it was to their advantage to allow slaves to marry, because any children from the marriage would add to their wealth. According to law, a child took on the legal status of its mother; a child born to a slave mother would in turn become a slave, even if the father was free. Slaves usually had to ask permission from their masters to marry, however, and slave marriages had no legal protection. Masters could break up marriages and separate families as they wished.

The slave trade in North Carolina separated countless husbands, wives, parents and children. On the whole, slaveholders cared little about the kindred bonds of slaves, and tore families apart by selling slaves for profit.

Because the large plantations of the Lower South needed more slaves than the smaller farms of North Carolina, it was not uncommon for slaves in the state to be sold to slave traders who took them south to Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi, Louisiana or Alabama. Once a family member was sold and taken to the Deep South, they became almost impossible to locate or contact.

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