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Breeding a Nation: Reproductive Slavery, the Thirteenth Amendment, and the Pursuit of Freedom
Binding: Hardcover, 220 pages
Publisher: South End Press
Weight: 0 pound
ISBN 10: 0896087409
ISBN 13: 9780896087408
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Book Description:
What does the Thirteenth Amendment, intended to abolish slavery, have to do with reproductive rights? Everything, according to constitutional law scholar Pamela D. Bridgewater. In Breeding a Nation, this reproductive rights activist and law professor vividly resurrects the history of slave breeding, examining how this essential but historically overlooked element of slavery explodes our common understandings of 'emancipation.' First proposed by Dorothy Roberts in her influential Killing the Black Body, this astonishing reconceptualization of liberty is engaged fully in Breeding a Nation. Bridgewater boldly exposes links between slave breeding and reproductive coercion, rape, child abuse, and more, ultimately revealing the unfulfilled promise of the Thirteenth Amendment. When slave importation was abolished, slavers soon realized that the only way to maintain slavery was to grow slaves at home. Congressional debates around the post emancipation amendments thus rightfully recognized that the forced reproduction of children was central to slavery. And they intended to put an end to it. Yet was slavery truly abolished? Bridgewater's hard look at subsequent reproductive law ties it firmly to the slave breeding supposedly outlawed by the Constitution. Dispensing with the myth that slavery was a system of coerced labor alone, Breeding a Nation places slavery's forgotten story of reproductive exploitation at the center of the urgent public discourse around civil and reproductive rights. Consider this: If the framers of the Constitutional amendments believed that reproductive coercion was central to slavery, then a woman whose reproduction is either compelled or proscribed is, by definition, a slave. A must read for activists and academics interested in civil rights, reproductive rights, reparations, and cross issue coalitions, Breeding a Nation shows us firsthand how to evoke history to change the laws governing our reproductive lives. Bridgewater's arguments will both invigorate and spark controversy in legal studies, women's studies, black studies, and human rights circles for years to come.

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