“God Never Meant for Me a Slave”: The Soul Value of American Slavery
Daina Ramey Berry, Ph.D.
Reception: 6:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Lecture and Discussion: 7:00pm - 8:00 pm
From the moment of birth and before, those invested in buying and selling human beings put a price tag on enslaved people. This fiscal marker served as a projection of future worth as well as a monetary value of a market price. Regardless of what the figure meant, enslaved people created their own system of valuation that neither the auctioneer nor enslaver could control. Exploring enslaved people’s inner spirits expressed in plantation records, newspapers, testimonies, and letters brings us to an entirely different system of values which are the focus of this presentation.
About the Speaker
Professor Daina Ramey Berry, award-winning author and historian, is an Associate Professor of History and African and African Diaspora Studies and the Oliver H. Radkey Regents Fellow in History at the University of Texas at Austin. Before joining the faculty at UT Austin, she taught at Michigan State and Arizona State Universities. She completed her BA, MA, and PhD in History, African American Studies, and US History at UCLA. Dr. Berry is a specialist in the history of gender and slavery in the United States with a particular emphasis on the social and economic history of the nineteenth century.
In addition to her scholarly writing and editing, Dr. Berry has appeared on several syndicated radio and television shows including NPR, NBC, PBS, C-SPAN, and the History Channel. In 2010 she was on the season finale of “Who Do You Think You Are?” (NBC) where she reconstructed the genealogy of director, actor, and producer Spike Lee. In 2013 she appeared with Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Harvard University) on Episode Two of “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” (PBS). She is an advocate for public history and served as one of the technical advisors for the remake of the Roots mini-series, which aired in the summer of 2016.
Copies of Dr. Berry's most recent book, The Price for their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from the Womb to the Grave, in the Building of a Nation (Beacon Press, 2017) will be on sale after the lecture.