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.
Alma maters: BA (history), UCLA, 1992; MA (African American studies), UCLA, 1994; PhD (history), UCLA, 1998
Fields of interest: 19th-century, African American, slavery, gender and women’s history
Describe your career path. What led you to where you are today? I made the decision to become a historian as an undergraduate. Initially, I majored in economics but changed to history after taking an African American history course. My advisor, Brenda E. Stevenson, joined the faculty during my last year at UCLA and her course on slavery influenced me to pursue graduate work in African American studies and history. I stayed at UCLA for all of my degrees and went on to become a professor teaching at Arizona State University, Michigan State University, and now, the University of Texas at Austin.
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...
For the last few years, Dr. Berry and Rachel Winston, the LLILAS Benson Black Diaspora Archivist, have been collaborating on the Texas Domestic Slave Trade Project (TXDST). With the help of a research team, the project has evolved and grown, elucidating the centrality of Texas in the domestic slave trade.
Read Rachel Winston's reflections on her role on the project and its larger significance here...
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."
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.
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.”
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...
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 authorDaina 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...
Professor Daina Ramey Berry, Associate Professor of History and African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, has churned out some breathtaking research on slavery with her new 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).
Prof. Berry, who has authored four books on the history of slavery, centers The Price for Their Pound of Flesh on the fluctuating prices of slaves. Here, she looks at life insurance policies, slave trading records as well as examines ways in which slaves purposely decreased their value.