Protecting Assets

Cast Bronze, 2005
22" x 12" x 27"

He often beat her severely, but this time there was something very different. This particular beating was as if he drew some demonic sexual pleasure from it. In fact, the brightly clothed master sat and watched as one of the poor overseers performed his dirty work, precisely as he instructed.

There he sat, with legs crossed and gloved hands upon a dog-head walking cane, half-smiling and sweating at the same time. As he squirmed and moved about on his perch, he nervously dabbed beads of sweat from his upper lip with his lace-trimmed silk handkerchief.

She feared this moment, and wondered when it would be her time to go through this shameful ritual of his. For it has been said that his only real pleasures were drinking heavily and punishing his slaves. She stood there, hoping to be brave and some what defiant. Standing upright, head up, and as ripe and pregnant as anything on this earth can be. Her belly was full of life. Her breasts, swollen to the point of bursting. The first lash laid upon her small frame was as if lightning from the wind appeared out of nowhere, and found only her, the object of its flesh-biting fury.

This she began to experience, not once or twice, but many times. After a while, she could bear it no longer. She looked toward the sky with her hand in a questioning position, to ask God "Why me be here? Why my people be so scorned and brutalized? Why my unborn baby feel the pain of the life she not yet be in?"

The young lady filled with life and beauty gave in and fell to her knees. And with one extra brutal lashing, her body fell into the three dugout earthen shapes prepared for her. This was done to preserve the life of the infant, and to protect the breasts to feed her baby. Because of the peculiar economics of the South concerning chattel labor, so that valuable property was not destroyed.

Because of the laws forbidding importation of slaves, breeding was very important to the plantation system. Many young women were used as breeders or became wetnurses. The level of violence against these women was atrocious. Many received beatings while pregnant or nursing. Those beatings often caused the blood from their wounds to mix with the milk from their breasts, forming long streams of pink liquid flowing down their bodies.

Later that evening her shivering cold body was gently lifted out of the molded earth and carried to the slave quarters, where she was washed and cleaned and given salves to draw out the salt that was poured into her wounds after the whipping.

When the Union soldiers destroyed the Frenchman's house of evil disguised as a plantation, he himself was brought before a magistrate and eventually found guilty of his crimes. The oddest thing about this case was that his anxiety and fears drove him to take his own life. He was found before he was sentenced with a fancy embroidered silk scarf tied around his neck, swaying quietly back and forth, with bulging eyes staring downward, as if observing something in a sunken earth pit below him.