The Legacy of Slavery and The Value of Black Life in America

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For as long as America has existed, black life has been valued and devalued to varying degrees. It is what former First Lady Michelle Obama called attention to her in speech at the Democratic National Convention.

“The story of generations of people who felt the lash of bondage, the shame of servitude, the sting of segregation, but who kept on striving and hoping and doing what needed to be done so that today I wake up every morning in a house that was built by slaves,” said First Lady Obama.

And it is the rallying call of the Black Lives Matter movement that emerged from our recent chronicling of racial violence in America.

In a new book, "The Price for Their Pound of Flesh," author Daina Ramey Berry puts a price tag on slavery, and explores how slaves were used as commodities through every stage of life in early America. Ramey Berry is also a professor of history at University of Texas at Austin.