It's not a pleasant subject. In fact, it is one of the most shameful chapters of our national history. But there is just enough historical basis to the breeding notion to see how the street theories of a Jimmy the Greek get started. Frederick Douglass is one former slave who described these practices. In his autobiographical Narrative, Douglass describes a young landowner named Covey, just starting out in life, who could only afford one slave. So he bought a woman named Caroline, "a large able-bodied woman about twenty years old."
"Shocking as is the fact," Douglass wrote, "he bought her, as he said, for a breeder." Then Covey went out and rented a married male slave, "And him he used to fasten up with Caroline every night! The result was that at the end of the year, the miserable woman gave birth to twins." A similar account appears in a series of narratives assembled by Fisk University in Nashville. "They would buy a fine girl and a fine man and just put them together like cattle," one former slave recalled. "They would not stop to marry them. If she was a good breeder, they was proud of her. I was stout and they were saving me for a breeding woman, but by the time I was big enough I was free."
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