The problems of being property: Marriage is out

“Although most masters encouraged (and some forced) their slaves to pair up with each other, courts refused to grant these relationships any formal valididity.

“As a North Carolina judge explained in 1858, ‘Marriage is based upon contract; consequently the relation of “man and wife” cannot exist among slaves. It is excluded, both on account of their incapacity to contract, and of the paramount right of ownership in them, as property.’ ”

– From “What Comes Naturally: Miscegenation Law and the Making of Race in America” by Peggy Pascoe (2009)