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Seasoning, also referred to as “breaking in,” was an arduous process imposed on enslaved Africans during the era of the transatlantic slave trade. Among its purposes was to increase the value and thus the final sale price of enslaved Africans. Those who had been “seasoned” could be sold for about a 57% higher price than those who were not.

As noted by Lerone Bennett, Jr., there was no single method of seasoning enslaved Africans; specific aspects of the process varied according to factors such as geographic region—North America, South America, or the Caribbean—and with the nationality and personal tendencies of the slaveholder. What all methods had in common was their inhumanity toward the enslaved, who were viewed as and treated as property. Seasoning was ...

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