Black History Fun Fact Friday – Marital Relationships During Slavery

The inspiration for today’s topic comes from a heated discussion ongoing from an episode of The Real. The Real is a talk show that prides itself on being centered on discussions on current events, fashion, family, relationships, and celebrity news. The show’s host includes Jeannie Mai, Adrienne Bailon, Tamera Mowry-Housely, Loni Love, and now Amanda Seals. The show’s hook is presenting real topics, having real discussions, and giving very real opinions. But some audiences do not find the show to be as authentic as it prides itself to be and Loni’s comments don’t help.

Co-host Loni Love found herself in some hot water over her comments about Black men, cheating, and slavery. Here is a clip of what was said:

Whether you agree with Loni or not her comment opened the door for further discussion on this topic. I would like to use it as the catalyst for exploring what relationships were like for enslaved men and women and if there is any truth in Loni’s statement.

Questions to ponder as you read:

  1. Should we isolate Black men as cheaters who use money and power to take advantage of women?
  1. Is it fair to use slavery to support the theory that Black men, in particular, have a problem being faithful in relationships?
  1. Are we descendants of slaves? Or are we descendants of people who were enslaved?

Family separation became increasingly common during the antebellum period and being sold on the New Year was a common occurrence. Widely known as “Hiring Day” — or “Heartbreak Day,” as the Black abolitionist journalist William Cooper Nell described it — enslaved people spent New Year’s Eve waiting, wondering if their owners would rent them out to someone else, which would split up their families. (Waxman, O, 2019) “Hiring Day” was part of the larger economic cycle in which most debts were collected and settled on New Year Day,” says Alexis McCrossen, an expert on the history of New Year Eve and New Year Day and a professor of history at Southern Methodist University, who writes about Hiring Day in her forthcoming book Time’s Touchstone: The New Year in American Life.

Enslaved people were bought and sold like cattle and auctioneers appraised women based on their ability to reproduce. Women who birthed children during slavery were called “breeders,” and their children were referred to as the “increase.” The mother and father of the “increase,” could have been a legitimate couple or they could have been forced together.

Black people were not people in this sense, they were commodities. Their bodies had a price tag. Slave-masters/owners could mortgage, loan, trade, or exchange the enslaved body. “The nature of exchanging enslaved people meant that this seller was open to the idea of getting them back, perhaps after the child reached a certain age and the mother was no longer breastfeeding.” (Berry, D, pp 20)

Enslaved men, women, and children incurred interest and even in death the enslaved body was traded and sold, many of them ending up on the tables of medical schools for hands-on medical research. Slave farms existed, where Black men and women were raped and forced to have sex with one another. The South,” writes Sublettes, co-author of The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry “did not only produce tobacco, rice, sugar, and cotton as commodities for sale; it produced people.”

“Because slaves were property, Southern slave owners could mortgage them to banks and then the banks could package the mortgages into bonds and sell the bonds to anyone anywhere in the world, even where slavery was illegal. Thomas Jefferson bragged to George Washington that the birth of black children was increasing Virginia’s capital stock by four percent annually.”

– The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry

Enslaved couples were not married or in a relationship in the same way men and women are married or in a relationship today. Since this is a private area of the enslaved life, it’s difficult for historians to say for certain how these relationships worked or did not work.

“Research into the intimate areas of slaves’ lives has proven problematic for historians because the typicality of private sentiments is always hard to establish, and within slave testimony such as the WPA narratives, the reference to issues of marital discord, abuse, or adultery is rare.”

Emily West (2004) Tensions, tempers, and temptations: marital discord among slaves in antebellum South Carolina, American Nineteenth Century History, 5:2, 1-18, DOI: 10.1080/1466465042000257837

What we know is that it was illegal for Blacks to marry in the traditional sense, that many of them were forced together for breeding, and that some enslaved couples did not live on the same plantation. There’s something else we know: due to the complex and brutal system of slavery, relationship bonds between black men and women (that weren’t forced or instituted by the slave owner) were strong. “Marital ties created bonds that warrant attention equal to the bonds of motherhood.” (Berry)

Enslaved couples who married under slavery loved each other deeply because there was no guarantee they wouldn’t be sold away from one another. The story of Tamar, an enslaved woman from Camden County, North Carolina, ran away several times, was sold several times, and had her children sold multiple times. According to her brother’s testimony, Tamar “traveled by night, and hid herself in the woods.” (Berry) While in hiding she had more children with her husband. Pregnancy, in this case, could have resulted from genuine love and marital affairs.

In The “Chords of Love: Legalizing Black Marital and Family Rights in Postwar Texas” Crouch tells the story of Fannie, a slave woman who wrote a loving letter to her husband. “I haven’t forgot you,” she writes, “nor I never will forget you as long as the world stands.” (Crouch, B, Journal of African American History)

“…it’s not across the board because what is happening is that we are still dealing with the point of slavery. And we are descendants of slavery and because our families were broken up…” – Loni Love

Is there a correlation between a Black man who cheats, and the enslaved Black man who was forced to have sex with and impregnate lots of women without attachment or commitment? Has this trauma passed down through generations caused Black men to perpetuate similar behaviors as was required during slavery? Is this what Loni Love of The Real was trying to communicate?

Certainly, we have all inherited both good and toxic behaviors from our ancestors in one way or another. To this day many Black families say they eat pork because “at slavery times that’s all we had to eat, so we made food taste good by trying things out,” says Big Mama on the 1997 movie Soul Food.

But Black people aren’t the only people who eat pork or are known for eating pork (and eating like you did when you were enslaved is not wise). 

“Cheating is a matter of choice. And when you cheat it is a choice that you as a man are making to feed your ego. It has nothing to do with your boys not being around. It has nothing to do with men working too hard. It’s not a matter of race. Men make choices and cheating is always a poor choice because it’s ego-driven.”

– Charlamagne tha God

While there are certainly questionable actions we’ve picked up from being an enslaved people, there is no evidence that directly links Black men cheating to slavery. Cheating is not a trauma-based response from slavery that causes Black men to be untrustworthy and unfaithful more than any other race. Men and women of all races and backgrounds make poor choices that cause them to cheat for one reason or another.

What further complicates things is that Adrienne adds that this is true “across the board,” which is a good point. This could have been an opportunity for further clarity, historical context, and teaching but Loni cuts her off, further clarifying her point that she is specifically talking about Black people and in particular, Black men:

“No, it’s not across the board because what is happening is that we are still dealing with the point of slavery. And we are descendants of slavery and because our families were broken up we still do not have a idea of how to have…together, families were broken up…”

We are not descendants of slavery.

We are the descendants of a people who were enslaved.

If it’s true that because of slavery Black men struggle with fidelity, then we also have to say something about the white slave masters who raped and forced black men and women to breed. And we have to talk about the white slaveowners who cheated on their white wives with black women.

Black men during slavery did not have the same capacity to cheat as men and women have today. Marriage during slavery did not mean the couple could exercise fidelity because they did not have a right to their own bodies. While married, the wife may have had children by the master after being raped by him and the husband could have also fathered more children through force. The only guarantee was the love each had for one another and the hope that they could see each other as often as was allowed and cultivate some sense of normalcy for their families (as normal as was possible under slavery).

Is it fair to say, “lots of white men beat their wives because they are the descendants of slave-owners and masters who beat their slaves?” Is it ever fair to make generalizations about a group of people, gender or race?

Imagine the frustration of being a Black man in America, honorable and striving only to look and see your own woman (The Black Woman) consistently publicly declare to the world that you are not capable of doing right.

“Black men everyday are dealing with our character being shamed.”

– Willie D

If we say “black men don’t know how to be faithful because we are still dealing with the point of slavery” we first miseducate people on the history of our enslavement. Next, we alienate Black men, assume Black women and other races of people (across the board) don’t cheat, and throw Black men under the bus.


Books I recommend for further research on Slave Breeding and Blacks used as Commodities: 

The American Slave Coast: A History of the Slave-Breeding Industry by Ned and Constance Sublette

The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation by Daina Ramey Berry

Medical Apartheid: The Dark Experimentation on Blacks from Colonial Times to the Present by Harriet A. Washington

Author Spotlight: Yecheilyahs 2nd Annual Poetry Contest Judge: Lisa W. Tetting

Today we are introducing and spotlighting Lisa W. Tetting, poetry contest judge! Lisa is an author, blogger, poet and freelance writer. Let’s catch up!

Copyright©Lisa W. Tetting.

Lisa is a former call center supervisor currently based in Birmingham, AL with her loving and supportive husband. Growing up the youngest of seven in a small town in North Carolina, she embraced her love of reading which helped to develop her imagination. Her desire to write lay dormant for years until she found the courage to look within and her passion could no longer be ignored.

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She created her own brand of Romance that she dubbed LoveRotica – Love stories with an edge of sexy under the pen name L. Loren and Miss Loren does not disappoint! One of the most consistent authors I know you can rest assured Loren’s got something hot and steamy always in the works. Some of her books include The WanderLynn Experience Series: Book 1 – The Layover, Book 2 – Island Adventures, Book 3- Destination Home,  and Book 1 in the Triple threat Series titled Egyptian Nights. Her most recent work is Hall Pass, book one in the Walk of Fame Series and Love is Color, a collection of sensual poetry, short stories and visual art that depicts love in its rawest form. Lisa’s work also includes books outside the Erotica genre such as her debut The Mistreatment of Zora Langston and Southern Horror Stories. She was also featured in Volume 4 of SOUL Magazine.

Hall Pass (Walk of Fame Series 1)

Ari’s boyfriend has just granted her a Hall Pass to sleep with Hollywood’s sexiest actor, should the opportunity present itself. When she suddenly gets her big chance to live out her fantasy, things take an unexpected turn.

Dallas Monroe is sick of being labeled a man trophy. He wants desperately to find true love and change his sex symbol image to that of a serious actor. When he runs into PR Rep, Ari Nicole Couture, she will change his life forever.

“I don’t review erotica but I must say, L. Loren, is turning me into a fan! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was, in my opinion, well balanced for my taste. Just enough sexy, drama, and humor to keep me reading. I can tell it was fun to write because it was fun to read.” – EC

GRAB HALL PASS HERE

Love is Color Anthology

Love is Color is a collection of sensual poetry, short stories and visual art that depicts love in its rawest form. The stories are a gathering of diverse authors from different genres coming together to create a work of art. Whether you like second chance romance, fire-breathing dragons, interracial love, or a little bit of mystery. This book has something for you. Come see why Love is lived in Color and not in Black and White!

Love is Color is dedicated to sisterhood! There is a freedom that comes with supporting one another and fostering each other’s dreams. As the saying goes, “You can tell who the strong women are – They are the ones you see building one another up, instead of tearing each other down.” – Unknown

GRAB LOVE IS COLOR – ANTHOLOGY HERE

The Layover (The WanderLynn Experience Book 1)

Vivacious, witty and feisty, Lynn Sutton is living the life she desires, with the smarts to match and no strings attached. As the successful owner of a luxury travel concierge service, she is building an empire that only a goddess like her can handle. Until one day, life throws the ultimate curveball when she loses her only sister in a tragic car accident and becomes the sole guardian of her niece and nephew. After years of focusing solely on the twins and her career, Lynn is left with the empty nest syndrome when the twins go off to college. She decides it’s time to refocus on herself and her love life. And she’s got her sights set on one man…Connor.

Wealthy and intelligent, Connor Wyatt has never found his true love. Trapped in an arranged and loveless marriage, he craves the one thing his wife refuses to give him, a family. When he meets the beautiful aunt of the young man he is mentoring, she immediately awakens his dormant heart and loins. When his marriage falls apart, he renews his friendship with the beautiful and curvy Lynn in the hopes that he can rekindle a fire that has been smoldering within for years. And an unexpected flight layover brings Connor the chance of his lifetime.

The chemistry between the two is undeniable, but outside forces threaten to douse their inferno forever. Will this love connection finally be made? Or is it already too late?

Read book one in The WanderLynn Experience Here

And the book that started it all…introducing Ms. Zora Langston…

The Mistreatment of Zora Langston

Zora Langston is nine years old when her father dies, leaving her in the hands of a mother who is anything but loving and siblings who never considered her family. Without her father, she is truly alone. Before the dirt has even settled on his grave, there’s a new man of the house, and he has no interest in being Zora’s father.

Despite her hardships, Zora remains true and allows faith to help free her from this new, horrible life she’s found herself in. She finds solace in her aunt and uncle and, for the first time, starts to discover what it’s like to have a real family. However, just when she thinks she has escaped her tormentors, new abusers emerge, old ones return from hiding and she must find the strength to survive.

GRAB YOUR COPY OF THE MISTREATMENT OF ZORA LANGSTON HERE

Instagram: @rebirthoflisa
Email: rebirthoflisa@aol.com

Author Spotlight: Yecheilyah’s 2nd Annual Poetry Contest Sponsor: Dr. K.E. Garland

Today we are introducing and spotlighting Dr. K.E. Garland, poetry contest sponsor! You may remember Kathy from her excellent Introduction Interview on this blog HERE. Well, she’s back and has a lot of exciting things going on! Join me as we catch up.

Dr. K.E. Garland

garlandk

Katherin Garland was born and raised on Chicago’s west side. She has spent much of her adult life teaching secondary and post-secondary classes in Florida. Kathy is an amazing writer and First Place Royal Palms Literary Award-winning writer for Creative Nonfiction. Her work has been featured in the South Florida Times, Talking Soup and For Harriet. The Unhappy Wife is an anthology of 12 fictionalized stories of real women’s marriages. Her first book, Kwoted includes 100 original and inspirational quotes focused on living a conscious life. She typically writes in order to inspire social change. Other examples of her work can be found on her personal blog.

Kwoted

The quotes encompassed in this book are the result of advice and mantras that the author lives by and offers to those around her. Through this book of quotes, she hopes to broaden the range of encouragement and support for any person who seeks to live consciously, activate dreams and participate in relationships with their whole hearts.

Support Kwoted Here

The Unhappy Wife

You may remember The Unhappy Wife from my five-star review earlier this year (check it out HERE).

Twelve women share one thing in common – the quest for being happily married to the men they chose; however, each one finds herself in an unexpected marital predicament. Inspired by real events and told from each woman’s perspective, these short stories are firsthand accounts detailing the realities of marriage well after each woman said, “I do.”

Four women represent The Voiceless Wife. Although circumstances vary, these women give their power away to friends and family. The result is a loss of intuition and self. The Detached Wife symbolizes five different ways wives can be disconnected from their husbands and themselves. Sex, intimacy and self-discovery are central to understanding these women’s narratives. The Committed Wife includes three women who demonstrate the depths of devotion. These final stories show that wives sometimes need more than loyalty to be happy.

Also included is an afterword by Dating and Relationship Coach and Instructor, and founder of Relationship Architect Academy, Anita Charlot. She gives valuable insights as to how and why some women become “unhappy” wives and what we as women can do to maintain healthier relationships.

Support The Unhappy Wife Here.

Daddy: Reflections of Father-Daughter Relationships

I am “uber” excited for this one! Daddy is Kathy’s latest anthology and is currently available for preorder. She is also doing a special feature of the writers who contributed to this piece on her blog.

A father’s presence is important in a daughter’s life. He is the first man a little girl sees and knows. He demonstrates how men relate to women. But what happens when the father-daughter relationship is dysfunctional? Daddy answers that question.

Included are fourteen memoirs that describe the impact a failed father-daughter relationship can have. These women share essays and narratives that detail various stages of breakdown. Whether an event occurred in childhood, adolescence, or adulthood, each story explains how their father’s physical, emotional, or psychological abandonment has affected them.

The book is separated into two parts. Part I shows the proverbial truth in the phrase, hurt people hurt people. While some stories confirm why or how men mistreat their daughters, others show how daughters sometimes internalize neglect and continue the cycle either with the relationship they have with themselves, or others. Part II illustrates how compassion can lead towards a path of inner peace and happiness, no matter the state of the relationship.

PreOrder Daddy: Reflections of Father-Daughter Relationships Here

Kathy’s NOT done! She is currently a sponsor of my 2nd Annual Poetry Contest and has generously donated six books! Six ya’ll. This means you have a chance to win a copy of both The Unhappy Wife and Daddy: Reflections of Father-Daughter Relationships when you support this contest. Details of how to enter are coming soon. In the meantime, stay tuned for more Author Spotlights for this year’s contest and be sure to go support Kathy’s work! You won’t be disappointed.

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Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Dr. K.E. Garland

Been a minute since our last Introduction!

Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to K.E. Garland. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Katherin Elizabeth Garland and I was born and raised on the west side of Chicago. I currently live in Florida.

Uh oh, another Chicago native in the building. I’m from the South Side myself. How long have you been in Florida? That weather must be feeling lovely.

I know right! Chi-town stand up! I’ve been here for about 20 years. We moved back to a suburb one year (Naperville), but found it was a little colder than we remembered lol, so we moved back. The weather here is WONDERFUL, when there’s not a category five hurricane coming towards us 😉

What is the most annoying habit that you have?

People “claim” <insert air quotes> that I eat very loud. I mean I don’t know if I believe them or not, but several friends and family members have complained.

Several loll. Siblings?

I have one sister who is five years older than I am. We weren’t raised together because I was adopted out of the family. Consequently, we’re not very close. I consider myself an only child; however, I use the phrase, “I was raised as an only child,” out of respect for the situation.

Aww. Let’s get back to writing. I met you through the blog, does blogging help you to write?

Blogging does help me write. It helps me maintain consistency with my purpose and writing. For example, my blog is focused on nonfiction, inspirational stories, so no matter my topic or thought, I always intentionally try to see the “good” in real situations and inspire readers to think a little differently about common issues.

That’s what’s up. Your comment section always popping lol. Do you have any blogging advice for author bloggers?

L…O…L Just be yourself. In all things, be yourself. You can’t be like the blogger who posts every day because you have a day job. You can’t talk about relationships because you don’t want to open up. And that’s FINE! Be yourself and do what you do best.

I get the feeling I already know the answer to this question but, what’s your favorite color?

My favorite color is red. I have a red purse, red laptop cover, and red clothing (in every style, including several red pairs of shoes). I also have red sheets, red silverware, and a red dish holder thing for when the dishes dry (whatever it’s called).

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Kwoted is available now on Amazon.

Oh my goodness lol. You are obsessed! When did you publish your first book? What was that like?

I actually published my first book in 2015. It is called Kwoted and included 100 original quotes created by me. As simple as the book was, I was ecstatic to have even gone through the self-publishing process. People didn’t really buy that book, but it inspired me to know that my next book, The Unhappy Wife (2016) was possible.

Kwoted sounds lovely. I like the spin on the title and I just finished The Unhappy Wife. Are you married Kathy?

I have been married for 21 years now.

That’s awesome. Children?

I have two beautiful and polar opposite daughters. They are eighteen and sixteen.

The Unhappy Wife
The Unhappy Wife is available now on Amazon.

Let’s go back to The Unhappy Wife for a moment. You’ve been married for over 20 years which I think is amazing. What advice can you give to young women out there on being happier in marriage?

Thank youuuu! I had this advice made up on a t-shirt when I was promoting the book:

  1. Know yourself.
  2. Love yourself.
  3. Be yourself.

That’s it. If you do one or all of those things, then your marriage will go smoothly. You’ll take ownership for who you are in the relationship and you’ll stop blaming others for your happiness or unhappiness.

Nice. Write that down people. OK, let’s switch it up a bit. What are your thoughts on Race?

Here in the States, we’ve spent too much time creating racial constructs and fighting against them. It’s an exhausting conversation and way of life. Quite honestly, I know that once we focus on the real divide, socioeconomic inequality, then we’ll be making some headway. Once we realize that most of us are in the same boat financially, while wealthy people control our entire existence, then a true shift will occur. Race (and racial inequality) is just something to keep us distracted from real issues. I hope I’m clear. Racial inequality does exist, but we have to move the conversation beyond race and into financial insecurity.

Interesting. What takes up too much of your time?

Nothing takes up too much of my time. I say this because I’ve spent much of my life getting to a place where most of my time is my own; therefore, I don’t think anything takes up “too much of” it. In most moments, I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing, which I know is creating each future moment of my life. That’s a great feeling.

NEW: Now Available: Daddy: Reflections of Father-Daughter Relationships

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Thank you Kathy for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!


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K.E. Garland. Photo used with permission.

Katherin is a First Place Royal Palms Literary Award winning writer for Creative Nonfiction. Her work has been featured in the South Florida TimesTalking Soup and For Harriet. She typically writes in order to inspire social change. Other examples of her work can be found on her personal blog.

Website: kegarland.com
IG, Twitter, and FB: kegarland

Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE.

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – The Unhappy Wife by Dr. KE Garland

Title: The Unhappy Wife

Author: Dr. K.E. Garland

Print Length: 83 pages

Publisher: Katherin Garland

Publication Date: October 17, 2016

Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC

ASIN: B01J96KOCE

Been a minute since I’ve written a new review but I got a good one for you today.

I am not an Unhappy Wife but this book is a must-read for ANY woman as it contains information that is useful for us all. A short read, The Unhappy Wife is a compilation of the testimony of twelve women and their marriages; the things they expected and the reality they didn’t. This book shows us that marriage is work and that it doesn’t really matter how ready you think you are. Let me give an example of what I mean.

I am a bible believer. This includes the belief in law and order. I believe that men are the head of their households (1 Co 11:3) and that wives are to submit to that authority (Eph 5:22). I believe that women are to support their husbands and that husbands are to love their wives (Eph 5:25). What I don’t believe in is abuse and I dislike when authority and submission have been abused, taken advantage of and scripture twisted in support of abuse of any kind. I cringe when submission is blamed for abuse and I cringe when men abuse their authority.

I say all of this to say that The Unhappy Wife is a reminder that marriage is work no matter how you look at it. You can be deeply in love, know your role, all of this and something can still go wrong. That is because marriage is a constant commitment. Two people becoming one is not easy no matter how long you’ve been together. You will both come with your own baggage of some kind. The question is how heavy is that baggage? Sometimes it’s too heavy for you both to carry. Maybe someone doesn’t love themselves as much as they thought they did or someone is being abused. In either case the relationship suffers.

The Unhappy Wife is the perfect guide for women in relationships period and a good warning for married couples in general. What I learned most from the women’s stories is that marriages do not fall apart all at once but that it happens little by little so we have to pay attention to the signs, not rush into things, communicate, and not ignore the red flags.

Favorite Quote:

“Marriage is a sacred commitment. You can never fully prepare yourself for marriage but what you can do is work on yourself, your choices in men and a good understanding of what will feed your heart before entering into nuptials.”

Entertainment Factor: 5/5

Thought Provoking: 5/5

Authenticity / Believable: 5/5

Overall: 5/5

The Unhappy Wife is Available Now on Amazon

The Unhappy Wife

 

Be Sure to follow KE online!

Twitter: kegarland

Instagram: kegarland

Facebook: kegarlandwriter

Author Website: kegarland.com