Racial Capitalism, Legacies of Slavery, and Social Movements
My own research on colonial Haiti revealed a four-fold increase of captive Africans’ purchase prices between the West Central African Loango coast and the prices of sale at ports like Cap-Français (Cap-Haïtien) in the 1780s. While sugar and coffee prices climbed throughout the late eighteenth century, the price values assigned to the enslaved grew at a much slower place – representing a decline in slave values in absolute terms compared to values of the popular crops.1
The ratios of slave prices and crop prices is not only a convenient statistic, it had real life implications – especially considering the reputation of colonial Haiti as one of the deadliest slave colonies in the Americas due to excesses of labor and violence. Increased crop prices incentivized working the enslaved to death, extracting as much energy as possible before they were discarded and replaced with another cohort of captives from Africa. Enslaved people were fetishized and commodified as property that was valued less than commodities.
Read the entire article here: https://www.aaihs.org/racial-capitalism-legacies-of-slavery-and-social-movements/