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Working Cures

Author: Sharla M. Fett
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
ISBN: 9780807853788
Size: 63.26 MB
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Working Cures explores black health under slavery showing how herbalism, conjuring, midwifery and other African American healing practices became arts of resistance in the antebellum South and invoked conflicts.

Birthing A Slave

Author: Marie Jenkins Schwartz
Publisher: Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674022027
Size: 23.25 MB
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The deprivations and cruelty of slavery have overshadowed our understanding of the institution's most human dimension: birth. We often don't realize that after the United States stopped importing slaves in 1808, births were more important than ever; slavery and the southern way of life could continue only through babies born in bondage. In the antebellum South, slaveholders' interest in slave women was matched by physicians struggling to assert their own professional authority over childbirth, and the two began to work together to increase the number of infants born in the slave quarter. In unprecedented ways, doctors tried to manage the health of enslaved women from puberty through the reproductive years, attempting to foster pregnancy, cure infertility, and resolve gynecological problems, including cancer. Black women, however, proved an unruly force, distrustful of both the slaveholders and their doctors. With their own healing traditions, emphasizing the power of roots and herbs and the critical roles of family and community, enslaved women struggled to take charge of their own health in a system that did not respect their social circumstances, customs, or values. Birthing a Slave depicts the competing approaches to reproductive health that evolved on plantations, as both black women and white men sought to enhance the health of enslaved mothers--in very different ways and for entirely different reasons. Birthing a Slave is the first book to focus exclusively on the health care of enslaved women, and it argues convincingly for the critical role of reproductive medicine in the slave system of antebellum America.

Medicine And Slavery

Author: Todd L. Savitt
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
ISBN: 9780252008740
Size: 76.28 MB
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A detailed analysis of the occurrence of disease and the quality of medical care in antebellum Virginia focuses on the treatment of Black slaves and freemen

Recaptured Africans

Author: Sharla M. Fett
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 1469630036
Size: 11.97 MB
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In the years just before the Civil War, during the most intensive phase of American slave-trade suppression, the U.S. Navy seized roughly 2,000 enslaved Africans from illegal slave ships and brought them into temporary camps at Key West and Charleston. In this study, Sharla Fett reconstructs the social world of these "recaptives" and recounts the relationships they built to survive the holds of slave ships, American detention camps, and, ultimately, a second transatlantic voyage to Liberia. Fett also demonstrates how the presence of slave-trade refugees in southern ports accelerated heated arguments between divergent antebellum political movements--from abolitionist human rights campaigns to slave-trade revivalism--that used recaptives to support their claims about slavery, slave trading, and race. By focusing on shipmate relations rather than naval exploits or legal trials, and by analyzing the experiences of both children and adults of varying African origins, Fett provides the first history of U.S. slave-trade suppression centered on recaptive Africans themselves. In so doing, she examines the state of "recaptivity" as a distinctive variant of slave-trade captivity and situates the recaptives' story within the broader diaspora of "Liberated Africans" throughout the Atlantic world.

In The Way Of Our Grandmothers

Author: Debra Anne Susie
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
ISBN: 0820333883
Size: 14.99 MB
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Based on the accounts of midwives, their descendants, and the women they served, In the Way of Our Grandmothers tells of the midwife's trade--her principles, traditions, and skills--and of the competing medical profession's successful program to systematically destroy the practice. The rural South was one of the last strongholds of the traditional "granny" midwife. Whether she came by her trade through individual choice or inherited a practice from an older relative, a woman who accepted the "call" of midwife launched a lifelong vocation of public service. While the profession was arduous, it had numerous rewards. Midwives assumed positions of leadership within their communities, were able to define themselves and their actions on their own terms, and derived a great sense of pride and satisfaction from performing a much-loved job. Despite national statistics that placed midwives above all other attendants in low childbirth mortality, Florida's state health experts began in the early twentieth century to view the craft as a menace to public health. Efforts to regulate midwives through education and licensing were part of a long-term plan to replace them with modern medical and hospital services. Eager to demonstrate their good will and common interest, most midwives complied with the increasingly restrictive rules imposed by the state, unknowingly contributing to the demise of their own profession. The recent interest of the youthful middle class in home birth methods has been accompanied by a rediscovery of the midwife's craft. Yet the new midwifery represents the state's successful attainment of a long-awaited goal: the replacement of the traditional lay midwife with the modern nurse-midwife. In the Way of Our Grandmothers provides a voice for the few women in the South who still remember the earlier trade--one that evolved organically from the needs of women and existed outside the realms of men.

Reforming Men And Women

Author: Bruce Dorsey
Publisher: Cornell University Press
ISBN: 9780801472886
Size: 37.33 MB
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Before the Civil War, the public lives of American men and women intersected most frequently in the arena of religious activism. Bruce Dorsey broadens the field of gender studies, incorporating an analysis of masculinity into the history of early American religion and reform. His is a holistic account that reveals the contested meanings of manhood and womanhood among antebellum Americans, both black and white, middle class and working class.Urban poverty, drink, slavery, and Irish Catholic immigration—for each of these social problems that engrossed Northern reformers, Dorsey examines the often competing views held by male and female activists and shows how their perspectives were further complicated by differences in class, race, and generation. His primary focus is Philadelphia, birthplace of nearly every kind of benevolent and reform society and emblematic of changes occurring throughout the North. With an especially rich history of African-American activism, the city is ideal for Dorsey's exploration of race and reform.Combining stories of both ordinary individuals and major reformers with an insightful analysis of contemporary songs, plays, fiction, and polemics, Dorsey exposes the ways race, class, and ethnicity influenced the meanings of manhood and womanhood in nineteenth-century America. By linking his gendered history of religious activism with the transformations characterizing antebellum society, he contributes to a larger quest: to engender all of American history.

Medical Bondage

Author: Deirdre Cooper Owens
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
ISBN: 0820351342
Size: 63.54 MB
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The accomplishments of pioneering doctors such as John Peter Mettauer, James Marion Sims, and Nathan Bozeman are well documented. It is also no secret that these nineteenth-century gynecologists performed experimental caesarean sections, ovariotomies, and obstetric fistula repairs primarily on poor and powerless women. Medical Bondage breaks new ground by exploring how and why physicians denied these women their full humanity yet valued them as “medical superbodies” highly suited for medical experimentation. In Medical Bondage, Cooper Owens examines a wide range of scientific literature and less formal communications in which gynecologists created and disseminated medical fictions about their patients, such as their belief that black enslaved women could withstand pain better than white “ladies.” Even as they were advancing medicine, these doctors were legitimizing, for decades to come, groundless theories related to whiteness and blackness, men and women, and the inferiority of other races or nationalities. Medical Bondage moves between southern plantations and northern urban centers to reveal how nineteenth-century American ideas about race, health, and status influenced doctor-patient relationships in sites of healing like slave cabins, medical colleges, and hospitals. It also retells the story of black enslaved women and of Irish immigrant women from the perspective of these exploited groups and thus restores for us a picture of their lives.

Medicalizing Blackness

Author: Rana A. Hogarth
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 1469632888
Size: 56.15 MB
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In 1748, as yellow fever raged in Charleston, South Carolina, doctor John Lining remarked, "There is something very singular in the constitution of the Negroes, which renders them not liable to this fever." Lining's comments presaged ideas about blackness that would endure in medical discourses and beyond. In this fascinating medical history, Rana A. Hogarth examines the creation and circulation of medical ideas about blackness in the Atlantic World during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. She shows how white physicians deployed blackness as a medically significant marker of difference and used medical knowledge to improve plantation labor efficiency, safeguard colonial and civic interests, and enhance control over black bodies during the era of slavery. Hogarth refigures Atlantic slave societies as medical frontiers of knowledge production on the topic of racial difference. Rather than looking to their counterparts in Europe who collected and dissected bodies to gain knowledge about race, white physicians in Atlantic slaveholding regions created and tested ideas about race based on the contexts in which they lived and practiced. What emerges in sharp relief is the ways in which blackness was reified in medical discourses and used to perpetuate notions of white supremacy.

Secret Doctors

Author: Wonda L. Fontenot
Publisher: ABC-CLIO
ISBN: 0897893549
Size: 49.42 MB
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Based on an ethnographic study of the traditional medicine of African Americans in the rural southern United States, this work concentrates on the original Louisiana Territory, with its Native and African American indigenous traditions, and the French migration and Black Haitian freed and enslaved population influx during the 1700s and 1800s. Fontenot finds strong ties between rural Louisiana practices and Haitian and West African medicine. The ethnographer, a native of the region where she did her research, is respected among local practicing secret doctors and is able to give a unique insider's view. Aside from documenting a rare treasure of our American cultural diversity, this study has a wider purpose in the field of health practices and policy. The high cost of Western medicine, lack of access to quality care, and the patient-doctor ratio are areas of major national concern, and rural residents and people of color are recognized to be the most at-risk populations. The alternative health-care system presented here can strengthen mainstream medicine's understanding of such patient populations while preserving valuable knowledge of healing plants and culturally sensitive therapies.

A Luminous Brotherhood

Author: Emily Suzanne Clark
Publisher: UNC Press Books
ISBN: 1469628791
Size: 62.40 MB
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In the midst of a nineteenth-century boom in spiritual experimentation, the Cercle Harmonique, a remarkable group of African-descended men, practiced Spiritualism in heavily Catholic New Orleans from just before the Civil War to the end of Reconstruction. In this first comprehensive history of the Cercle, Emily Suzanne Clark illuminates how highly diverse religious practices wind in significant ways through American life, culture, and history. Clark shows that the beliefs and practices of Spiritualism helped Afro-Creoles mediate the political and social changes in New Orleans, as free blacks suffered increasingly restrictive laws and then met with violent resistance to suffrage and racial equality. Drawing on fascinating records of actual seance practices, the lives of the mediums, and larger citywide and national contexts, Clark reveals how the messages that the Cercle received from the spirit world offered its members rich religious experiences as well as a forum for political activism inspired by republican ideals. Messages from departed souls including Francois Rabelais, Abraham Lincoln, John Brown, Robert E. Lee, Emanuel Swedenborg, and even Confucius discussed government structures, the moral progress of humanity, and equality. The Afro-Creole Spiritualists were encouraged to continue struggling for justice in a new world where "bright" spirits would replace raced bodies.