The Price for Their Pound of Flesh includes photographs, illustrations, newspaper clippings, advertisements, extensive lists of appraisal and sale values, quotes, poems, letters, and songs from the time period. Additionally, Berry’s focus on sharing a diversity of stories of and from enslaved people illuminates their experiences and feelings in direct response to their understanding of their monetary values and position as property. “Despite being traded as commodities from the womb to the grave,” Berry writes, “enslaved peoples understanding of their soul values transcended the external values placed upon their bodies. And with this realization, their souls were at peace.”
This is the first book to explore an enslaved person's ascribed value throughout their lifespan, including before birth and after death. The book represents more than a decade of Berry's original research and insight into the history of the slave trade in American.
Daina Ramey Berry is an associate professor of history and African and African diaspora studies, and the George W.Littlefield Fellow in American History, at the University of Texas at Austin. An award-winning historian, she is also a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.