WARNING…this book is very hard to read!
“The Delectable Negro: Human Consumption and Homoeroticism Within U.S. Slave Culture masterfully analyzes slave narratives to trace how the act of human ownership is akin to sexual and physical consumption of the flesh. Indeed, the act of cannibalism is both metaphorical and literal in Woodard’s book. In analyzing the ultimate crime against the flesh (that of eating another person), The Delectable Negro uncovers how sexual encounters during and after slavery were deeply entwined with the act of human consumption. This is to say, that the act of owning another body (that is considered your property) may have produced erotic pleasures when enacting violence against those bodies. In a gruesome narrative, Woodard analyzes how a slave master apparently roasted an “unruly” slave and forced his other slaves to consume its flesh. Woodard focuses on the pleasure of the slave master and his statement that he had the “biggest ball” while conducting the act as testament to homoerotic nature that slavery produced. What Woodard’s book allows scholars to do is to see how sexual trauma affected all slaves amidst the lack of male slave voices who would have been open to sharing their sexual abuse. Additionally, The Delectable Negro also throws the question of gender during slavery into a necessary turmoil as well. “