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A Slave Father Sold Away From His Family

Excerpt from "Slave Family Life, Period: 1600-1860"

Slave marriages and family ties were not recognized by American law. Any owner was free to sell husbands from wives, parents from children, and brothers from sisters. Many large slaveholders had numerous plantations and frequently shifted slaves, splitting families in the process.

The most conservative estimates indicate that at least 10 to 20 percent of slave marriages were destroyed by sale. The sale of children from parents was even more common. As a result of the sale or death of a father or mother, over a third of all slave children grew up in households from which one or both parents were absent.

Source: Mintz, S. (2007). "Slave Family Life, Period: 1600-1860", University of Houston

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Record Details

Title: "A Slave Father Sold Away From His Family."


Frontispiece to The Child's anti-slavery book, 1859.

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