The value of a black slave

slavery reenactment

What price for a black slave

In just a short period in 2014, America, especially black America, is learning a valuable lesson on the value of  black life. For some reason the intrinsic social value of black life is at an all time low. But there are other calculations in value that can be measured on economic levels. The last time black life had a set value in America was when blacks were in bondage. The price was not cheap as detailed in a paper entitled “Measuring Slavery in 2011” by Dr. Samuel H. Williamson and Dr. Louis P. Cain; Let us extrapolate some data and look at the black man’s value in dollars in 1850 compared to today’s dollars.

The value of a slave in 1850 was on average $400. In today’s dollars that price would be between $12,000 and $82,000.

The average slave had a life expectancy of 20 years. The $400 price represented a potential gain.  In today’s dollars, that value, less the cost of feeding the slave, would be close to $85,000-$176,000 depending on skill level.

The $400 price of slave was equal to the price of a house. The more slaves you had the greater your wealth and display of wealth.

Spending $400 in 1850 could get you the following commodities; 4,800 pounds of bacon, 3,000 pounds of coffee, 1,600 pounds of butter, or 1,000 gallons of gin.

Owning at least 500 slaves meant that you were a millionaire, placing you in the one percent income bracket that controlled the wealth and government in the United States. But the bottom 50 percent held only one percent of the same wealth and power in 1850!  Hmmm, sound familiar?

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Join our Newsletter

Sign up for Rolling Out news straight to your inbox.

Read more about:

Also read

Watch this video

What's new

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
Receive the latest news

Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter

Get notified about new articles