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Demystifying the Rhetoric of Slave Breeding

Cover of Negro Account Book 1840-1849
Monday, February 05, 2024
4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Jobie Hill, Duke Ph.D. Program in History
First Mondays at CDS: Spring 2024 Work-in-Progress Seminar

Slavery scholars estimate the U.S. enslaved population tripled following the abolition of the Transatlantic Slave Trade in 1808. This aggressive population growth was achieved in part by forced breeding of enslaved people.

It is anticipated that the multigenerational records of the Massie family in Virginia provide evidence of slave breeding by enslavers in the U.S.

Holistic review and interpretation of the Massie papers suggests a century-long slave breeding system that birthed more than 350 enslaved children. Jobie Hill's project, Demystifying the Rhetoric of Slave Breeding, examines the paper trail left behind by the Massie family, looking specifically at the who, how and when.

Hill's goal is to use Massie slave journals, including the never-studied Stock Book, to explore the role their content played in building and securing the prosperity of slavery through reproductive labor.


Registration is requested. Please register at


Duke's Center for Documentary Studies (CDS) is currently supporting three Ph.D. student fellows who are pursuing research related to documentary studies. As part of the fellowship, students are giving presentations on some aspect of their dissertation research that relates to documentary studies at the Spring 2024 Work-in-Progress Seminars.

Everyone is welcome to attend. Snacks will be provided for these discussion-based seminars. Join CDS on March 4 and April 1 for additional seminars in this series. Details at


Image courtesy of Jobie Hill: Cover_Negro Account Book 1840-1849

Contact: Katie Hyde