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News Link • Agriculture

Chicken of tomorrow

• arclein

For enslaved African Americans, this humble status proved a welcome boon. In 1692, after several individuals had bought their freedom with profits from animal sales, the Virginia General Assembly made it illegal for slaves to own horses, cattle and pigs. Masters often banned their human chattels from hunting, fishing or growing tobacco, and at Mount Vernon raising ducks and geese was an undertaking reserved solely for George Washington's white staff. The chicken 'is the only pleasure allowed to Negroes; they are not permitted to keep either ducks or geese or pigs', one visitor there remarked.

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