The Price for their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved from the Womb to the Grave by Diana Ramey Berry is a very well-researched analysis of the economic impact of slavery, and the ownership and trade of Black Americans from before the start of slavery to the afterlife of the slave. This book also goes into very fine detail about the impacts this trade had on the economy, science, and society.
About the Book
Though gruesome, this book is packed with the harsh realities of the economics of chattel slavery in America. Berry has conducted years of research and collected both quantitative and qualitative data to write this book about the value of Black bodies from different angles. In this book we learn the the differences in the value of these bodies such as the differences in price and what caused them, the cost of a woman with child versus a the cost woman without a child and what caused them, the value of bodies after death in the underground cadaver markets, and beyond.
In The Price for Their Pound of Flesh, Berry used this pricing and value information to tie into the significance if what these specific values mean to the economy and science today and which industries were founded from-- and benefited from-- the trading (both legally and illegally) of enslaved people.
My Take on the Book
Not only would I recommend this book to everyone in general, I would specifically recommend The Price for Their Pound of Flesh to anyone who finds themselves in any type of political and social debate about the implications of systemic racism in our country. This book lays out research behind the lots of implications of the racial wealth gap that everyone struggles to find the historical research for.
I listened to this book on audio, but after listening, I wished I had a hard copy of my own to markup, tab and highlight so I can have easy access to all the facts and figures listed in this book. This book is an amazing resource.
Have you read this book yet? If so what were your thoughts? The people would like to know.
Until next time and as always,