Ordeal by Fire: The Civil War and Reconstruction

McPherson, James

Knopf, 1982

p. 35

Some plantation masters treated their slaves relatively better than others did. The African slave trade stopped in 1808. After that American slave traders had “to depend upon natural reproduction for the maintenance and increase of their slave 'stock.' It was in the slaveowner's interest to encourage good health and a high birthrate among his slaves. One former slave said that his master 'fed us reg'lar on good 'stantial food, just like you'd tend to your hoss, if you had a real good one.' Another former slave recalled a Louisiana planter who liked to point out healthy slave children to visitors. 'Dat one be worth a t'ousand dollars,' or 'Dat one be a whopper.' You see, 'twas just like raisin young mules.’''