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Our country was founded on African American labor. Slaves were often too expensive to kill so they had their personhood regulated. The measures that were taken include: theological support for African Americans either having no soul or only a soul and a body only fit for labor, anthropological beliefs that African Americans were non-human or barely human, and intellectual beliefs supporting African Americans being intellectually limited. The African American male body needed to created more workers (make babies), work hard, and endure hardship without complaint. Any desire or action for African Americans to assert their humanity was illegal like: running away, learning to read, speaking in their native language, organizing with others, and not having white permission to go and come. Although there were many views around African American folks, the one thing that held constant was the need for African American bodies to be alive and viable to help this burgeoning country turn a consistent profit. The African American body was wanted alive – even if alive meant maimed, devalued, mutilated, and seen as extraneous dark matter that is used to show white brilliance like a black cloth does a diamond.
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