The Truth About American Slave Breeding Farms


Excerpted from Birthing a Slave: Motherhood and Medicine in the Antebellum South by Marie Jenkins Schwartz. Published by Harvard University Press.

“By the 1820s planters and would-be planters were moving in large numbers to places previously unavailable for settlement and growing the fiber for sale in Europe and New England, where a textile industry was beginning to thrive. The extension of the so-called Cotton Kingdom required new laborers. As of 1808, when Congress ended the nation’s participation in the international slave trade, planters could no longer import additional slaves from Africa or the West Indies; the only practical way of increasing the number of slave laborers was through new births. With so much at stake, black women’s reproductive role became politically, as well as economically, decisive. If enslaved mothers did not bear sufficient numbers of children to take the place of aged and dying workers, the South could not continue as a slave society.”

In this book and many other sources, it’s made to appear that America had little choice but to increase slave production to offset the altruistic end of the International Slave Trade which Congress Banned in 1808. Thomas Jefferson was President at the time, he had no problem with slavery. He literally loved his slaves, failing to free even Sally Hemmings children, all six of them believed to be his according to DNA evidence, until after his death. Jefferson was a Virginia farmer, knowing full well the value of slavery to the Southern economy. Congress at that time was controlled by the Party he created; the Democratic-Republican Party (not to be confused with either the Democrats or Republicans of today). They didn’t end the International Slave Trade to harm slavery, but to preserve it, domestic slavery, in particular. Congress wanted to decrease the external supply to keep prices up for the homebred slaves.

It’s worth noting that the Constitution of the United States, in addition to establishing the Electoral College to protect slave states, and valuing slaves at three-fifths of a person (while giving them no rights). Specifically, forbid banning the importation of slavery prior to 1808.

“ The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.”

Article 1: Section 9 Constitution of the United States

Americans did not take up breeding slaves in response to Congressional action, that action was taken at the behest of slave breeders as a protectionist means to keep the price of their product up. Jefferson’s home state Virginia was the leading producer of slaves. Slavery eventually exceeded tobacco as their leading export. Maryland was second in slave production, followed by several other states.

Economist Richard Sutch did a study which found that in 1860, on farms that had at least one female slave the ratio of women to men was 2:1. In Virginia, female slaves exceeded males by over 300,000. They were used to breed. Robert Lumpkin ran what is mostly referred to as a “slave jail” with little recognition that he ran the nations largest breeding farm. He personally had five children with a slave Mary who he ultimately remembered in his will. While owners of the breeding farms and plantations in general fornicated at will with their property, they also utilized selective breeding. Maintaining their own large “bucks” and importing large male slaves for the purpose of breeding good workers for the fields.

Black female slaves were some of the first people in the country to receive free health care. Breeders took a great interest in fertility and expected multiple births from the women or their value would be diminished. Home medical journals were produced to help with difficult births that had previously been left to the slaves to deal with. The quote from the film Gone With The Wind, “I don’t know nothin’ about birthing babies,” was meant to be a thing of the past.

Many films have depicted boats arriving in New Orleans which became the largest slave market in the Antebellum South. Rarely is it shown those ships originated in Richmond and Baltimore. Slaves were also shipped by railroad packed in boxcars or sent by stagecoach. The slave breeding farms are mostly left out of the history books except those that deny their existence.

Many of the white slave owners felt they were doing their female slaves a favor when they mated with them. Granting them a respite from the brutish black slaves they would otherwise be subjected to. Generally speaking, it was the house slaves that got raped the most. Some mothers had to protect their offspring from the master’s wife if she had reason to believe her spouse was the father. We’re generally aware of that situation which we’ve been led to believe was the worst case scenario. Nobody talks about the 13-year-old girl on a breeding farm, forced to bear as many children as possible, only to have them ripped away and send down South to endure a lifetime of hardship, without a mother. On one breeding farm, the mother would be freed after birthing fifteen children. What would she have to look forward to?

America barely acknowledges that breeding farms existed, let alone document their role in creating the robust economy of the early South. There are the self-evident truths mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, and those truths so heinous they must perpetually be covered up and denied. Breeding farms fall into the second category. History books when they even mention it, suggest slave breeding didn’t begin until after the banning of the Atlantic slave trade. In truth, it began decades earlier on plantations and farms and only because America was prepared to produce the slaves it needed did it allow the end of the importation of slaves from Africa.

Lies About Slavery And The American Breeding Farms


Excerpted from Birthing a Slave: Motherhood and Medicine in the Antebellum South by Marie Jenkins Schwartz. Published by Harvard University Press.

“By the 1820s planters and would-be planters were moving in large numbers to places previously unavailable for settlement and growing the fiber for sale in Europe and New England, where a textile industry was beginning to thrive. The extension of the so-called Cotton Kingdom required new laborers. As of 1808, when Congress ended the nation’s participation in the international slave trade, planters could no longer import additional slaves from Africa or the West Indies; the only practical way of increasing the number of slave laborers was through new births. With so much at stake, black women’s reproductive role became politically, as well as economically, decisive. If enslaved mothers did not bear sufficient numbers of children to take the place of aged and dying workers, the South could not continue as a slave society.”

In this book and many other sources, it’s made to appear that America had little choice but to increase slave production to offset the altruistic end of the International Slave Trade which Congress Banned in 1808. Thomas Jefferson was President at the time, he had no problem with slavery. He literally loved his slaves, failing to free even Sally Hemmings children, all six of them believed to be his according to DNA evidence, until after his death. Jefferson was a Virginia farmer, knowing full well the value of slavery to the Southern economy. Congress at that time was controlled by the Party he created; the Democratic-Republican Party (not to be confused with either the Democrats or Republicans of today). They didn’t end the International Slave Trade to harm slavery, but to preserve it, domestic slavery, in particular. Congress wanted to decrease the external supply to keep prices up for the homebred slaves.

It’s worth noting that the Constitution of the United States, in addition to establishing the Electoral College to protect slave states, and valuing slaves at three-fifths of a person (while giving them no rights). Specifically, forbid banning the importation of slavery prior to 1808.

“ The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a Tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.”

Article 1: Section 9 Constitution of the United States

Americans did not take up breeding slaves in response to Congressional action, that action was taken at the behest of slave breeders as a protectionist means to keep the price of their product up. Jefferson’s home state Virginia was the leading producer of slaves. Slavery eventually exceeded tobacco as their leading export. Maryland was second in slave production, followed by several other states.

Economist Richard Sutch did a study which found that in 1860, on farms that had at least one female slave the ratio of women to men was 2:1. In Virginia, female slaves exceeded males by over 300,000. They were used to breed. Robert Lumpkin ran what is mostly referred to as a “slave jail” with little recognition that he ran the nations largest breeding farm. He personally had five children with a slave Mary who he ultimately remembered in his will. While owners of the breeding farms and plantations in general fornicated at will with their property, they also utilized selective breeding. Maintaining their own large “bucks” and importing large male slaves for the purpose of breeding good workers for the fields.

Black female slaves were some of the first people in the country to receive free health care. Breeders took a great interest in fertility and expected multiple births from the women or their value would be diminished. Home medical journals were produced to help with difficult births that had previously been left to the slaves to deal with. The quote from the film Gone With The Wind, “I don’t know nothin’ about birthing babies,” was meant to be a thing of the past.

Many films have depicted boats arriving in New Orleans which became the largest slave market in the Antebellum South. Rarely is it shown those ships originated in Richmond and Baltimore. Slaves were also shipped by railroad packed in boxcars or sent by stagecoach. The slave breeding farms are mostly left out of the history books except those that deny their existence.

Many of the white slave owners felt they were doing their female slaves a favor when they mated with them. Granting them a respite from the brutish black slaves they would otherwise be subjected to. Generally speaking, it was the house slaves that got raped the most. Some mothers had to protect their offspring from the master’s wife if she had reason to believe her spouse was the father. We’re generally aware of that situation which we’ve been led to believe was the worst case scenario. Nobody talks about the 13-year-old girl on a breeding farm, forced to bear as many children as possible, only to have them ripped away and send down South to endure a lifetime of hardship, without a mother. On one breeding farm, the mother would be freed after birthing fifteen children. What would she have to look forward to?

America barely acknowledges that breeding farms existed, let alone document their role in creating the robust economy of the early South. There are the self-evident truths mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, and those truths so heinous they must perpetually be covered up and denied. Breeding farms fall into the second category. History books when they even mention it, suggest slave breeding didn’t begin until after the banning of the Atlantic slave trade. In truth, it began decades earlier on plantations and farms and only because America was prepared to produce the slaves it needed did it allow the end of the importation of slaves from Africa.

America’s Breeding Farms: What History Books Never Told You


In 1808, America banned the import of slaves from Africa and the West Indies. The impact on actual slavery in America was almost non-existent. There was still some limited smuggling of slaves but the majority of new slaves in America came from what Professor Eric Foner called, “natural increase.” One could reasonably ask, “Why ban slave imports and not slavery itself?” The answer is because, for many of the proponents of the prohibition including Thomas Jefferson, the reason was not based on humanitarian concerns but on economics. The South was producing and selling enough slaves internally that the slave trade was reducing prices for slaves and cutting into profits.

In 1819, another act was passed allowing US ships to not only patrol its own shores but the coast of Africa in an attempt to stop slave ships at the source. Not for concerns about ending slavery but in protectionism for American slave owners. Everything was contingent on the fact that there was a “self-sustaining” population of about four million slaves in America at the time. Southern legislators joined with northern ones in passing both the acts that banned the external slave trading but ignored slavery.


Most of us are aware that slave owners often bred their slaves to produce more workers. We are taught almost nothing about the breeding farms whose function was to produce as many slaves as possible for the sale and distribution throughout the South to meet their needs. Two of the largest breeding farms were located in Richmond, VA, and the Maryland Eastern-Shore.

As far as cities I’ve never lived in, I’ve spent as much time in Richmond, VA as anywhere. I traveled there multiple times a year, often for a few days or a week at a time. Richmond is serious about most of its history. I’ve visited the Edgar Allen Poe Museum. Monument Avenue contains several statues mostly of Confederate Civil War heroes; Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis, J.E.B. Stuart and Robert E. Lee are honored there as is the late African-American tennis star Arthur Ashe who was from Richmond. In August 2017, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said Richmond would consider the “potential removal” of the statues glorifying the legacy of the South after issues raised in nearby conflicts and protests involving white supremacists. One major part of Richmond’s history is barely remembered, hardly spoken of and taught publicly nowhere.


Richmond is a port city and exported between 10,000 to 20,000 slaves a month to states further south and west. Slavery, not tobacco was Virginia’s primary domestic crop. You may have seen scenes of slaves being offloaded in New Orleans for example. They were more likely to have come from Richmond around Florida than from Africa.

You never hear the names of the industry leaders, Robert Lumpkin ran his “jail” which was a compound surrounded by a 12-foot fence with iron spikes. Should a slave escape, by law, The Fugitive Slave Act guaranteed they would be returned courtesy of the Federal government. The slave population of the breeding farm was mostly women and children not old enough to be sold, and a limited number of men whose job was to impregnate as many slave women as possible. The slaves were often given hoods or bags over their heads to keep them from knowing who they were having forced sex with. It could be someone they know, perhaps a niece, aunt, sister, or their own mother. The breeders only wanted a child that could be sold.


Richmond also had five railroads. Slaves could be shipped both by rail and boat which allowed slaves to arrive in better condition and thus fetch a higher price. Slavery was more than man’s inhumanity towards man. It was always about economics. Cheap labor that allowed America to compete with other nations. Much of America was literally built on slavery. Texas schoolbooks are now trying to make it sound not quite so bad. The breeding farms receive no mention at all.

Introduction to Enigma in Black

They tell me that biographies shouldn’t be written in the first person but Enigma in Black will be all about breaking rules. I’m a political junkie and will therefore always have something to say about politics. I’ll write long essays including publishing two chapters a week of “The History of American (White) Exceptionalism which will be completed just before the November Presidential elections. Consider it the first draft of what will ultimately be a book and my goal is that people be unable to hear the words American Exceptionalism without understanding who it applies to and which peoples it is intended to minimize.

My youngest daughter won’t read some of the things I write because they’re “too long” so for those with short attention spans I’ll offer snippets of my thoughts on all manner of things. I welcome discussions on any of my thoughts including and especially from trolls as long as you are willing to actually engage in a conversation and be civil. I am able to change my mind about things but don’t be surprised if I change yours.

As a change of pace, there will be poetry and possibly a new genre of poetry I’m inventing called Tragically Insincere Poetry making light of all poetry conventions but hopefully still evoking thought. If any of you would like to contribute some Tragically Insincere Poetry you will be most welcome. I will also offer up entries from “The Vault” of my previous writings for your consideration including what I said about Donald Trump four years ago which is screaming for an update.

I haven’t said much about myself yet (rather strange for a biography) so I’ll say a few things now but promise to open up more along the way. I grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Went to Fisk University which I credit for much of what I am where I played basketball and graduated with a B.A. in Economics. I have worked in corporate America with Fortune 100 firms and spent over 20 years in business for myself before finally succumbing to my destiny and writing. I’ve completed and am now shopping a novel which I will be proud to update you on when there is news. I have two short stories currently entered into a competition which after July I will be able to determine where/how to publish but I will let you know. There will be much more about me eventually but not so much for now as I am, after all, an enigma.

Hope you enjoy, feel free to share differing opinions which I will respect unless of course I mock them.