The American Slave Coast
On Midday, we speak to Ned and Constance Sublette about their history of slavery, “The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry.” After the U.S. outlawed importation of slaves from Africa in 1808, it doubled-down on generating new slaves. Slave-owners in Maryland and Virginia sold thousands of slaves further South; many in these states made bigger fortunes selling slaves than from the labor of the slaves who stayed in the Chesapeake region. The economic value of enslaved people was the core of the southern economy. Slaves were essentially the savings accounts of their owners, the collateral behind mortgages in the South. Thus emancipation was not just an economic setback for the 15 percent of southerners who held slaves – it completely dissolved the south’s economy.