Speaking

Daina Ramey Berry's "Price for their Pound of Flesh" honored with the Phillis Wheatley Award

By UT Department of History | June 2, 2018

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Congratulations to Professor Daina Ramey Berry, whose book The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved From Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation (Beacon Press, 2017) has been recognized by The Sons & Daughters of the US Middle Passage (SDUSMP) with the Phillis Wheatley Award.

Beginning in September, Dr. Berry will be the Oliver H. Radkey Professor of History and African and African Diaspora studies. She is a Faculty Affiliate in the Department of American Studies, the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Warfield Center for African and African American Studies.

SDUSMP highlighted the award in a press release last month announcing its 2nd Annual Sons & Daughters of the United States Middle Passage Conference this past Saturday, June 2, at Rider University in New Jersey. “The conference is a celebration of the lives of individuals enslaved in the United States and early English America. Without them, African-Americans, their descendants, would not exist and our country would be unrecognizable. They endured the horrors and brutality of American slavery and we must never forget them.” Read more...

The lynching memorial ends our national silence on racial terrorism

By Jonathan Capehart | April 26, 2018

When I visited Berlin five years ago, I was awed and thrilled by the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the Topography of Terror museum. Thrilled because those places and other blunt expressions of public accountability in the German capital for the nation’s horrific past were a break from the ignored or euphemistic, happy-faced storytelling of the painful parts of U.S. history. I marveled at the ability of a nation to unflinchingly look itself in the mirror and then permanently report back its findings to the world in word and architecture.

America’s inability to replicate that kind of raw, historical honesty has always pained me. That’s not to say we’re not getting better. At the National Museum for African American History and Culture, the sin of slavery is not just some distant institution of commerce, but it’s also accurately depicted as an evil that destroyed real lives. We are still grappling with its consequences, and our failure to atone for it mars our ability to collectively recover. Read more...

Visitors leave lynching memorial with strong impressions

By Mike Cason | April 26, 2018

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If the impressions of the first-day visitors to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery hold true, the memorial's designers achieved their intent of creating a compelling experience to spark awareness of the horrific legacy of lynching.

Tom Perryman, a teacher at Greenhill School, a private school in Dallas, has followed the development of the memorial from afar but said that did not prepare him for the power of seeing it in person.

"I had seen the museum in virtual form on the Internet for months and had been looking forward to getting here," Perryman said this afternoon. "But when you actually walk under the columns it's just breathtaking.

Can Art Museums Help Illuminate Early American Connections To Slavery?

By Sarah E. Bond | April 25, 2018

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WORCESTER, Mass. — On previous visits to the Worcester Art Museum, I had paused to consider the reserved posture and elegant dress of Lucretia Chandler Murray; however, I had not ever considered where her wealth and privilege came from — until now. While the older museum label for the portrait had underscored the characteristic style of 18th-century painter John Singleton Copley (1738–1815) and pointed to his allusion to styles adopted by the British nobility, a new label now caught my eye. It informed me that Lucretia’s father owned two enslaved persons whom he later left in his will to family members. One was named Sylvia and the other Worcester. While Lucretia’s father and husband had the financial means to pay for Copley’s talents, their enslaved persons did not.

Slavery in America: Then and Now

Hosted by Donnell Edwards | November 16, 2017

The CWR Network and Donell Edwards: VIEWPOINTS is proud to present nationally recognized and award winning author Dr. Daina Ramey Berry, who is an Associate Professor of History and African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. 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. Dr. Berry has appeared on several syndicated radio and television shows including NPR, NBC, PBS, C-SPAN, and the History Channel. Dr. Berry's phenomenal 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, is the first book to explore an enslaved person's ascribed value throughout their lifespan, including before birth and after death. During this very special program we will discuss with Dr. Berry slavery in America, then and now; the divisive racial climate in America; and the plantation mentality still prevalent among many black and white people in America. Don't miss this powerful and educational program.

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Slavery and Public Memory

By Marguerite Gallorini | October 19, 2017

The University of Virginia and its Commission on Slavery teamed up with the Slave Dwelling Project to organize a symposium called “Universities, Slavery, Public Memory and the Built Landscape.” This four-day conference will end with a field trip to Montpelier, Monticello and Highland on Saturday. WMRA’s Marguerite Gallorini was at the opening reception Wednesday [October 18] and filed this report.

This symposium on slavery started with a little history of the cadaver trade. Texas Professor Daina Ramey Berry talked about this trade where big medical schools like Harvard and New York purchased the corpses of slaves for dissection for anatomy classes. Read more...

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Live Radio Interview

September 28, 2017

Discussing her new book, research, archives, and more, Dr. Berry will be speaking live on Blog Talk Radio on September 28. Mark your calendar--the conversation is sure to intrigue.

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Peace in Schools and the Marketing of Enslaved Bodies

Hosted by John Shuck | June 9, 2017

Caverly Morgan discusses the Peace in Schools program in Portland. Professor Daina Ramey Berry talks about her book, "The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building Of A Nation."

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Caverly Morgan is the founding director of Peace in Schools. In 2014, Peace in Schools launched the first for-credit high school mindfulness course in the nation. And that is right here in Portland. She leads the Peace in Schools teaching team, develops our mindfulness curricula, and works directly with teens.

Daina Ramey Berry is an associate professor of history and African and African Diaspora Studies, at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building Of A Nation.

Author returns to Davis to present book on slave trade

By Special to the Enterprise | May 26, 2017

Daina Ramey Berry will speak at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, May 27, at The Avid Reader to present her book, “The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, From Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation.”

Dr. Daina Ramey Berry, Avid Reader, Davis California

Berry, an associate professor of history at the University of Texas, grew up in Davis; her parents are Mel and Felicenne Ramey. Her research focuses on 19th-century American history, comparative slavery and Southern history, with a particular emphasis on the role of gender, labor, family and economy among the enslaved.

Slaves were commodities, their monetary value assigned based on their age, gender, health and the demands of the market. According to the publisher, Becon Press, “The Price for Their Pound of Flesh” is the first book to explore the economic value slaves through every phase of their lives — birth through death — in the early American domestic slave trade. Read more...

New Books Network Interview: The Price for Their Pound of Flesh

By James Stancil | April 5, 2017

A profoundly humane look at an inhumane institution, The Price for Their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to Grave, in the Building of a Nation (Beacon Press, 2017) will have a major impact how we think about slavery, reparations, capitalism, nineteenth-century medical education, and the value of life and death. Slaves were commodities, their monetary value assigned based on their age, gender, health, and the demands of the market. This is the first book to explore the economic value of enslaved people through every phase of their lives including preconception, infancy, childhood, adolescence, adulthood, the senior years, and death in the early American domestic slave trade.

Covering the full life cycle, historian and author Daina Ramey Berry shows the lengths to which enslavers would go to maximize profits and protect their investments. Illuminating ghost values or the prices placed on dead enslaved people, Berry also explores the little-known domestic cadaver trade and traces the illicit sales of dead bodies to medical schools. This book is the culmination of more than ten years of Berry’s exhaustive research on enslaved values, drawing on data unearthed from sources such as slave-trading records, insurance policies, cemetery records, and life insurance policies. Writing with sensitivity and depth, Ramey Berry resurrects the voices of the enslaved and provides a rare window into enslaved people’s experiences and thoughts, revealing how enslaved people recalled and responded to being appraised, bartered, and sold throughout the course of their lives. Read more...