Slave Narratives: A Folk History of Slavery in the United States From Interviews. No cover available. Download Generated PDF (with images). READINGS FROM THE SLAVE NARRATIVES. What was it like to be enslaved in the United States? More than 2, African Americans answered that question. U.S. History: Slavery: Life in Slave Times; Slave Narratives (19th c. in chains: or , The life of an American slave, NY, PDF Kindle EPub, Free, UCalifornia.
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SLAVE NARRATIVES. A Folk History of Slavery in the United States. From Interviews with Former Slaves. TYPEWRITTEN RECORDS PREPARED BY. Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the. Federal Writers' Project, as transcribed in the interviewers' typed reports. Library of Congress, Manuscript. happen, but I ain't heered nuffin' 'bout no time when dey didden' take cotton ter Jools ever year twel de railroad come hyar." Slave Narratives: A Folk History of.
The former slaves ranked their masters not on an absolute scale but relative to harsh slave owners about whom they had heard. States, where segregation was legal, had higher rates of illiteracy among Whites and Blacks. Savitt asserts medical schools in Kentucky, South Carolina, Virginia and other Southern states concentrates on the establishment of hospitals or made arrangements with the local authorities of the area to offer treatment to poor houses or city hospitals that had large wards for White and Black patients. As slavery was a profitable institution, Southern capital was primarily invested in slaves and land. Although the United States abolished its slave trade from Africa on January 1, , slave trading continued unabated until C,
Initially, only four states involved in the project Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Virginia focused on collecting the stories of people who had once been held in slavery. Federal authorities organized teams of interviewers in 17 states to gather the recollections of over two thousand former slaves, most of who were born during the Civil War, to provide first-hand accounts of their experiences on plantations, in cities, and on small farms Hill, Escott noted as such, they often failed to pursue important topics, and many asked leading questions designed to confirm their preconceptions.
Alsberg, sent a memorandum to the interviewers containing several suggestions and a list of 20 categories of sample questions that required to be used. Among the questions were the following: Did the slaves have a church on your plantation? How did slaves carry news from one plantation to another?
What happened on the day news came that you were free? What did your master say and do? Rawick discovered additional FWP records and a number of other oral history materials that had never made it to Washington, D.
Rawick asserts the narrative of interviews with ex-slaves from Mississippi, which had purportedly been suppressed for political reasons, appear in Volumes 2 to 17 of The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography.
The value and character of the narrative as a historical source continues to be debated among literary scholars. Henige attributes these problems to the fact that those interviewed were extremely old and most were living in conditions of abject poverty during the Depression years of the s. Moreover, Henige states that not only had more than seven decades elapsed between Emancipation and the time of the FWP interviews but that most informants had experienced slavery only as children or as adolescents.
Blassingame expressed concerns about the power dynamics of the interview process, questioning whether the interviewers were able to elicit candid responses from their informants and accurately record their responses. Blassingame excluded the narratives in his now classic study The Slave Narratives based on authentic first-hand testimonies revealed that the adult slaves presented two very different behavioral types depending upon the their social environment: According to Historian Norman Yetman and others the interviews in the Slave Narrative Collection present problems beyond the general issue of reliability and accuracy of recollection of the past.
Escott cites that the creators of the collections of slave narratives did not set out to obtain a random sample of the slave population or even of the former slaves who were still alive p. Schaie , Kahn, Zarit, Hilbert, and Niederehe , as well as Kallman argue that the intellectual function actually improves with age. Differences of opinion about the slave narratives affect both external and internal aspects of their utility, comprehensiveness, accuracy and reliability as a historical source.
If the depiction of slavery can be reduced to the ramblings of poor men and women too old to remember the trauma of slavery, their stories can be viewed as folklore versus history Charles, Slaves had almost no rights under state laws; they did not have the right to marry, govern their children, learn to read and write, worship as they pleased, testify against White people in court, or sell their labor.
The master set the terms of the relationship between himself and his slaves. C, According to the Oxford English Dictionary, racism is the belief that there are characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to each race, discrimination against or antagonism towards other races. Again, the myth of genetic inferiority of people of African ancestry espoused by William Shockley in not only legitimatized slavery, but also tried to biblically sanction it.
Racism continues to exist on every level in the 21century. Consider a lengthy e-mail written by a third-year student and an editor on the Harvard Law Review, by the legal blog abovethelaw. In that email, Grace wrote that she thought Blacks might be genetically inferior to Whites: In a highly publicize infomercial Republican Tim James states, This is Alabama if you want to live here we speak English and if I am elected Governor the test will only be giving in English.
According to Patrick, the highly charge remark is a basic axiom of sociolinguistics bias against a language or dialect that stands in for bias against its speakers. Hersh concludes that the findings indicate that discrimination on the basis of skin color is the most likely cause of the wage penalty experienced by immigrants with darker skin color.
According to the research literature, Smedley and his colleagues, Stith and Nelson , cite disparities are found to arise from historic and social context in which ethnic and racial minorities receive inferior healthcare reflecting broader socioeconomic disadvantages among minorities and societal discrimination. Williams and Jackson cite among other factors, racial discrimination as a potential source of health disparities.
The racial context is highly important to this study in that the consciousness and attitudes of the majority of the populace during antebellum and post bellum periods, reflected an uninformed understanding that did not acknowledge that all humans share the same traits and characteristics, is embedded in the prevailing views of modern society.
For the purpose of the census, the three-fifths compromise is found in Article 1, Section 2, and paragraph 3 of the United States Constitution: Research has revealed that the three-fifth ratio had more to do with how much representation each state would have in Congress, based on the number of slaves and therefore how much power each region would have in Congress. Although there was a calculated reason for the use of the term three-fifth of a man in reference to African American slaves, the connotation has far reaching implication for future generation post slavery.
As slavery was a profitable institution, Southern capital was primarily invested in slaves and land. In l, the South grew over a billion pounds of cotton, a crop that represented two-thirds of all U. Following the Civil War, the South went bankrupt, and an estimated four million African Americans assumed the responsibility of freedom as nationalism emerged.
Board of Education of Topeka, Kans. Since the end of slavery, Blacks have been limited to living in neighborhoods where poverty, inadequate education, and crime are the norm. According to Adler et al. The concept of social status, which dates back beyond recorded human history, was a significant factor in ancient China, Egypt, Greece, and the Roman Empire, and is recorded in the Bible Marina Museum, Slavery can be traced back to antiquity, when conquered peoples were subjected to slavery to fulfill the economic interests of their conquerors Marina Museum, Evidence of the social status and inferiority of slaves can be traced back to the 4th Century BC Sumerian symbol for slave, which indicated that slaves were foreign and thus different from their masters Marina Museum, Further evidence in terms of thinking of and treating slaves as inferior is found in the records of Roman history Marina Museum, Interestingly, the conquered were in most instances the same race as the conquerors, European Caucasians.
Sheldon, Sheldon, , p.
Western cultures have assumed the intellectual and biological inferiority of African Americans. Rogers cites that, The precursors for these beliefs are found in ancient scientific theories that established the hierarchical and discriminatory classification of mankind based on race that still exist today. However, when African Americans are mentioned, they are generally associated with slavery and servitude, a circumstance that is reserved only for them Rogers, It is this unique association between Blacks and slavery in the minds of American Whites that underlies and establishes the inferiority of Blacks as both a social condition and a racial status in the United State.
Gates asserts that descendents of former slaves as well as those with African ancestry faced and continue to face a different series of social status stigmas and circumstances than their slave forebears.
Gates states that the modern-day African American ethnic group is essentially two classes, a small middle class and a huge underclass that lives close to or in poverty. The underclass suffers from a lack of education, skills, and opportunities, and is subjected to significant social stigma. Despite the fact that Blacks in the United States today have more rights than their ancestors, they are not afforded the same opportunities as White.
This fact is most readily apparent in the income disparity that persists between Black and White households, as detailed in the following Figure 5. The Urban Institute While Figure 5 shows the growing income gap between Blacks and Whites in the United States in demographic terms, Figure 6 illustrates how the Blacks underclass has tripled in size since The Urban Institute The core purpose of this study was to elucidate factors contributing to the health status of former slaves and explain the reasons why these particular people lived to such ripe old ages.
After the Civil War, Blacks were no longer considered commodities in the economic system, which continued to be dominated by Whites; the de-commodification of their labor served to eliminate any interest in their well-being and welfare wikipedia. This meant that from the end of the Civil War until the passage of the Civil Rights Acts of the s and affirmative action programs, a large minority of Blacks had to secure proper nutrition and acquire adequate medical care while living in a state of abject poverty Samond, Research on cardiovascular health in the United States contains details of two studies that contend that poor nutrition and stress - stemming back to the days of slavery may help explain Blacks-White differences in longevity.
They argue that social forces, rather than genes may underlie the racial inequities in the numbers and rates of heart attacks and strokes. Social Status and Health The experience of slavery and the post-slavery years continues to resonate today on every level—medically, psychologically, economically, and politically.
Modern epidemiological research has expanded its area of focus to search for causal influences on health to social pathways and transitions and their institutional contexts. Quality of life in this context, according to Epp , implies the opportunity to make choices and gain satisfaction from living. This view of health recognizes freedom of choice and emphasizes the role of individuals and communities in defining what health means to them.
Social status and its impact on health has been the subject of study by many researchers. A number of researchers believe that people increase their alcohol use to relieve tension or depression caused by exposure to stress and to things that cause stress. A study published in the Journal of Social Science and Medicine found that African Americans who sensed discrimination at work reported high levels of on-the-job stress compared with African Americans who did not feel discriminated against Geronimus,.
Moreover Geronimus et al. Syeda contends that the underlying link between economic inequality and health is that economic inequality generates a sense of social deprivation that contributes to poor health by exposing the most relatively disadvantaged individuals to higher psychosocial risk factors. Kaplan has demonstrated links between health determinants, including neighborhood context and health, in such areas as mortality, low birth weight, depression, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
Pearlin asserts that the degree to which people engage, form relationships, and leverage resources can be traced to surrounding social structures, how people fit into these structures, and the economic realities that these structures present. House, Landis, and Umberson assert that variation in neighborhood organization may promote or impede social interaction—a critical determinant of health status.
Researchers are beginning to understand the causal pathways through which Gallo and Matthews argue that social context contribute to health disparities. Social context refers to the specific social structures in which an individual is embedded: Moreover, these researchers cite that low socio-economic status may predict enhanced emotional and physiological reactivity to stress due to a deficiency in psychosocial resiliency and limited opportunities to replenish resource reserves.
Loneliness has been linked to cardiac activation, decreased cellular immune function, and increased release of stress hormones Glaser et al. According to Geronimus et al. Geronimus et al. Sterling, Sterling, Eyer, and Kiecolt-Glaser assert when a person is challenged by the environment, a large set of interacting physiological systems must accommodate each other, changing in different ways to maintain function in a dynamic response termed allostasis.
By ages 55 to 64, the Blacks-to-White relative odds ratio rose to 2. According to Massey , these conditions can engender social isolation by limiting the number and types of relationships people form as well as the frequency of their interactions. According to Cockerham , social class or social status is the single most powerful variable, and the strongest predictor of health, disease causation, and longevity.
Cockerham asserts that in order to qualify as a causal path, a social variable must influence multiple diseases through multiple pathways that are reproduced over time and involve access to resources. Within this context, Cockerham explains that the living environment reflects the quality of housing, air, and water; access to basic utilities e.
Healthcare of Slaves. Fontenot Scholars point to a number of reasons why this is so, which include a paucity of data, poor medical records, and illiteracy during the time. A few notable works exist on the subject of the medical care of slaves.
Covery Postell completed the first contemporary work on the subject of slave medical care. Postell proposed that plantation owners provided the same care for the slaves as they did for their families and concluded that Whites were benevolent in providing medical care for slaves, who they viewed as financial investments. Other authorities contend that slaves were active participants in their own healthcare, and seldom relied solely on the benevolence of White plantation owners.
Savitt is among the most cited works on the subject. In his case study of Virginia, Savitt states that while both White and Black communities in the South faced illness, some of the diseases experienced within the slave community resulted from the racially oppressive system of slavery. Savitt estimates that waste removal occurred only once a year on average, despite the fact that decaying food scraps and human waste were breeding grounds for mosquitoes and flies.
Mosquitoes transmitted yellow fever or malarial parasites to humans, while the frequent presence of human excrement in the drinking water led to epidemics of cholera, dysentery, diarrhea, typhoid, and hepatitis. Additionally, exposure to raw sewage led to the proliferation of parasitic worms that could be found in the lungs, liver, blood vessels, gall bladder, and intestines.
Savitt concluded that despite their poor conditions, the enslaved were active participants in their own medical care in antebellum Virginia rather than idle recipients.
Unlike modern physicians, doctors practicing in the early half of the 19th century lacked the scientific knowledge to treat many diseases effectively.
There were probably fewer than medicines used. The pharmacopoeia of consisted mainly of herbal medicines, with few inorganic compounds, such as calomel mercury a favorite among regulars. This fact is evidenced by the nearly one hundred reference letters in the Carmichael Collection [the original text is reproduced in Appendices A ] which were written by slave owners detailing the medical practice of James, Edward, and George Carmichael over a span of 11 years. The Carmichaels were physicians as well as slave owners who operated a medical practice in Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Providing healthcare for slaves constituted a significant part of the medical practice of the Carmichaels during the antebellum years. Although the slaves were not the authors of these letters, the letters provide second-hand accounts of their pain and discomfort through their owners or overseers; for example, William Jackson, Jr.
According the Carmichael letter collection, Southern families often possessed their own medicine chest filled with popular remedies for bleeding and for inducing vomiting and purging.
Masters and mistresses performed a variety of healthcare procedures on their slaves prior to summoning a physician. In November , Charles R. Battaile wrote, I have a very sick woman who was taken a few days since, with fever, pain in the head, and slight delirium, but constant pain since she was taken: She complained also of a sore throat but that is not very evident.
See Appendix A Caring for the ill slaves and dispensing medicine was also an important role for women on the plantation. If the home remedies did not yield positive results, the Carmichael letters demonstrate that slaveholders either sent their slaves to the Carmichael office with notes explaining their complaints or summoned physicians to their plantations to treat their ill slaves.
Slave owners often wrote to the Carmichaels for emergency services. For example, F. The Carmichael collection includes a comprehensive list of the most frequent medical complaints see Appendices C requiring treatment. Although the list is not included as an appendix, the collection also includes definitions of the terms as well as the medical cures or recommended remedies for the list of complaints.
Fett According to Byrd and Clayton According to the online American history textbook, Life under Slavery, a major contributor to the high infant and child death rate was chronic undernourishment. Slave mothers were not fed well and suffered high rates of spontaneous abortions, stillbirths, and deaths shortly after birth. Half of all slave infants weighed less than 5. Infants and children were badly malnourished. Most infants were weaned early, with three or four months of birth and then fed gruel or porridge made of corneal; around the age of three, they began to eat vegetables, soups, potatoes, molasses, grits, hominy and cornbread.
Understanding the social context or the specific social structures in which an individual is embedded: Most of these diseases as historian Todd Savitt and others pointed out were related to the terrible sanitation conditions in most slave quarters. The notion that the slaves were fed well and comparable medical care was provided is not supported in the literature but strikingly appear in a large percentage of the WPA narratives.
Beyond the household, the next level of social context is the social network of exchange. According to Pennebaker , individuals experience two overlapping processes when they face traumatic experiences: Pennebaker argued that if individuals hold back significant thoughts and feelings associated with an event, they are not likely to process the event fully.
Pennebaker claims evidence that victims under stress are sometimes strategic in their self-presentation, even among intimates. According to Silver and Wortman, if victims maximize their chance for personal adjustment by openly expressing their distress, they may risk alienating their social network.
Jourard argues that self-disclosure of upsetting experience serves a basic human motive and explains confronting the trauma helps reduce the physiological work of inhibition.
Jourard further explains by talking or writing about previously inhibited experiences, individuals translate the event into language, and once encoded linguistically, they can more readily understand, find meaning in, or attain closure of the experience. Instead the former slaves engaged in self-disclosure of their personal experiences, sharing trauma with others in their social network as a means of coping as well as a means of emotional support. Within the contextual framework of the social structures in which an individual is embedded beyond the household, there is the social network of exchange Van Haitsma, Van Haitsma explains the following: Relevant network characteristics include its overall size, its quality, and the nature of the links, the character of the ties binding network of the members is also important.
Strong ties, such as those of kinship, typically carry greater obligation for mutual support than do those of friend or neighbor. In anticipation of a potential act of violence towards plantation members the former slaves developed a unique way of communicating or coded language to transmit information within their social network. According to Tobin and Dobard the messages themselves were part of a language that held meaning only for people who had somehow learned it from any of a number of teaching methods — in worship services, through storytelling or in secret sessions with elders.
Moreover the formers slaves maintained different forms of communications including the drum and song and one that has come to light only recently is the Underground Railroad Quilt Code. And each of the four symbols is a quilt square pattern. Slaveholding families and white supervisors had no reason to suspect anything unusual about slave women making quilts, either for white families or for themselves.
Confession as well as inhibition the withholding of thoughts operate at two different ends of the spectrum. One day, the Colonel meets a slave traveling on the road. Lloyd, without identifying himself, asked the slave about his owner and how he was treated.
The slave responded that his owner is Colonel Lloyd, and that he was not treated well.
Several weeks later, the slave was chained and sold to a Georgia slave trader for the offense to Lloyd. The fear of retaliation by former slave owners working with the WPA interviewers played a role in deciding whether the ex-slaves confessed or gave testimony of their experiences as slaves withheld the thoughts about it. The narratives were recorded in the Deep South during the late s, when ex-slaves lived under a system of segregation nearly as oppressive as slavery.
The Ku Klux Klan was gaining strength as an organization and the Civil Rights legislation of the s were decades away when the former slaves were interviewed. Speaking their mind could have had serious repercussions for the ex-slaves after the printed text of their interviews was released.
Escott explains the following: The former slaves could not afford to alienate local White people or agents of the federal government, which might provide them with vital relief or an old-age pension.
All the rules of racial etiquette had to be observed, and the informant had to give priority to appeasing his interviewer rather than telling the truth about the past. Several slave narratives are remarkable for their candor. Some were eager to assure the interviewers that they had been happy and well cared for as slaves.
When the door is open, they tell how kind their masters was and how rosy it all was. I had rather be a slave. I wish I wuz still in slavery. Coahoma County, Mississippi: I had a heep better time when I growed up than folks does now. Shucks I was a heep better off.
Comparing her current need to what she thought to be better antebellum days, she told a WPA interviewer: Race of Interviewer and Ratings of Food Source: Paul Escott Slavery Remembered: University of North Carolina Press. Chapel Hill, N. The former slaves ranked their masters not on an absolute scale but relative to harsh slave owners about whom they had heard. Very favorable 9. Left during war 4.
Escott argues that one of the weaknesses of the interviewing process is that it did not require the interviewers to utilize scientific principles in terms of planning the questions, fulfilling their goals, and engaging in random sampling. The process basically consisted of the interviewers contacting ex-slaves about whom others had told them and asking them to talk about their experiences. From this perspective, their narratives have a lower level of reliability and validity than they would have if they had been collected in a scientific manner.
Table 8 illustrates the occupation of the slave narrative interviewees. Table 8. Occupations of Slave Narrative Interviewees Source: Escott He further explained, A closer look at the years of birth of the former slaves illuminates this problem.
Their information probably came in large part from their parents. Twenty-two percent were still so small at emancipation that they would not have entered the work force, and another 25 percent were no older than fifteen. On the other hand, Table 9. Year of Birth of Slave Narrative Source: An example of this possibility is found in the following slave narrative excerpt.
Ex-slave Rachel Sullivan was 82 at the time of the interview. All de White ladies had wet nusses in dem days. Her master had just returned from Russia, where he had been ambassador. Her baby had the czarina for a godmother. Only a house slave could have such a privilege. History has shown that slave owners in the United States many sought to subjugate their slaves completely physically, mentally, and spiritually through brutality and demeaning acts Thomas, African Americans were able to maintain their human dignity by building communities and families.
Historically, people of African descent frequently used music to counter this dehumanization, boost their morale, and toughen themselves psychologically Sullivan In protest and for mental fortification, African Americans sang songs a form of confession to steel themselves against the debasement of eating juba, such as the following: Juba for Ma, Juba for Pa.
Juba for your brother-in-law These verses are an example of the disguised meanings often hidden within the lyrics of early African American songs. As shown by this example, music became a way for slaves to remain connected to their African heritage while protesting their bleak condition.
Negro spirituals have functioned as a strong psychological aspect of Black culture developed during slavery that reflects cultural underpinnings Spencer, Spirituals represented a means of coping and expression, communication, and transference of historical context into song.
In essence, spirituals encouraged slaves to claim as much personal control as possible and solidified their determination to rise above domination. The central theme in African American spirituality, whether Christian or not, was that of striving towards freedom by escaping from slavery Gayraud, This perspective emphasizes the role of inequalities in health and disease across the entire lifespan, from birth to death, and considers social pathways in identifying links between social status and health.
The first principle of the lifespan perspective on social status and health is that social status can affect health at any point from birth or even before until death Settersten, The social status of Africans in America can be traced to the late s. The first Black African slaves in the American Colonies arrived as indentured servants in Jamestown in the colony of Virginia in Settersten, Slaves and indentured servants were considered personal property, and they or their descendants could be sold or inherited like any other property.
Human chattel viewed as property was governed largely by laws of individual states. No matter the their country of origin, many early immigrants were indentured servants, people who sold their labor in exchange for passage to the New World and housing on their arrival Congress, Most indentured servants had a contract to work without wages for a master for four to seven years, after which reportedly became free.
Blacks brought in as slaves, however, had no right to eventual freedom. As previously stated, multiple life-cycle periods of relevance e. In contrast, with the first life course principle which pertains to social status, a class system was imposed. Two classes of slaves existed and performed specific functions for their slave owners depending on whether they were a field slave upper class or a house slave lower class.
Oracle Education Foundation For example, differential treatment was given to house slaves as field slaves were provided with the bare minimum of clothing and fed once a day. The sole purpose of field slaves was production; they worked in the fields from sunrise to sunset, and at harvest time they toiled 18 hours a day. Women worked the same hours as the men, and pregnant field slaves were expected to continue to work until their child was born.
House slaves usually lived more comfortably than field slaves. Their living accommodation was also better than those of field slaves. An example of the class system and two generations of house slaves is revealed in the following narratives. This narrative of Julia Rush highlights the class distinctions and division of labor and privileges afforded to house slaves. For example a house slave received two sets of clothing; the field slave would only receive one set of clothing.
The division of labor is clearly outlined as the field slave had a quota to meet each day or they could expect to be whipped. As previously mentioned house slaves were treated differently. Julia served as a house slave while her mother and three sisters served as a field slaves.
This narrative gives voice to the concept of life course and the role of social class. It is also important to note the majority of the WPA narratives reflect interviews with former house slaves — see Table 8. Slave Narrative: Julia Rush was at the time of the interview. The following is a summary of the work she performed. As a child Mrs. Later she was sent to the fields where she worked side by side with her mother and three sisters from sunup until sundown.
Instead of the White overseer usually found on plantations the Colonel used one of the slaves to act as foreman of the field hands. It was so dark until torch lights had to be used to see by. Those women who had babies took them along to the field in a basket, which they placed on their heads.
All of the hands were given a certain amount of work to perform each day and if the work was not completed a whipping might be forthcoming. The following is a description of clothing from Julia Rush. In the summer months the men were given two shirts, two pairs of pants, and two pairs of underwear.
All of these clothes were made of cotton and all were sewed on the plantation. No shoes were worn in the summer. The women were given two dresses, two underskirts, and two pairs of underwear. When the winter season approached another issue of clothes was given. At this time shoes were given.
Because of the cruel treatment that she received at the hands of some of her owners [?? Rush says that the mere thought of slavery makes her blood boil. Then there are those, under whom she served, who treated her with kindness, whom she holds no malice against.
According to Setterson , the second principle of the lifespan perspective is a corollary to the first, and refers to the potential importance of the timing of the influences leading to social inequalities. Early adversity may be overcome by later improvements in social circumstances, but may nonetheless leave the individual more vulnerable to the consequences of health. After the Emancipation Proclamation formally abolished slavery, the federal government and its army commanders were responsible for providing food, shelter, and clothing for a population that had no exposure to or understanding of the responsibilities that freedom required in terms of caring for themselves and generating an income Kohl, This represented the start of a new series of problems for ex-slaves.
Not fully understanding the context of what was happening to them, many freed slaves remained with their masters, as they had no education or resources to start a new beginning Harrison, Movement of African- Americans out of the Southern United States to the north, midwest and west from to is referred to as the Great Migration Mintz, Confined to all-Blacks neighborhoods, African Americans created cities-within-cities during the s.
Some historians differentiate between the First Great Migration —40 , numbering about 1. Access to housing became a major source of friction between Blacks and Whites during this massive movement of people. The Great Migration of African Americans created the first large, urban Black communities in the north. Many cities adopted residential segregation ordinances to keep Blacks out of predominantly White neighborhoods.
The largest was Harlem, in upper Manhattan, where , African Americans lived in a neighborhood that had been virtually all- white fifteen years before. The Second Great Migration, from —, also led to drastic changes in the geography of urban life; 5 million or more people moved from Texas and Louisiana to California where there were jobs in the defense industry Mintz, From —, 14 states of the South, especially Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi, contributed to a large net migration of Blacks to the other three census-designated regions of the United States.
For instance, In New York, Harlem could not hold the influx of migrants, and large new black colonies began to transform the old Jewish and Italian neighborhoods of Brooklyn. According to Anderson city governments sought to control these changes with the construction of public housing.
The health of inner-city residents is significantly worse than in other places in the United States. In the inner city, the circumstances of poverty and minority status are exacerbated by segregation; the spatial concentration of these two characteristics apparently intensifies the disadvantages of low income and minority status.
The prior life-course development of former slaves provided little help in coping with their new-found freedom, and skills those ex-slaves would have to learn.
Lacking the ability to read or write or the skills to navigate the terrain of a country foreign to them, their emancipation was a double-edged sword.
They and their descendents had to educate themselves, learn trades, secure housing, and learn the customs of a country that they did not know, as well as provide for their own healthcare, all of which may have led to greater health disparities.
When one compares migration trends today with the slave population by states, as shown in Table 10, a striking similarity exist. Table From , Georgia, Texas and Maryland were the states that attracted the most Black college graduates, many citing that they moved back because of family and kinship ties.
In July , the U. Census bureau reported the following data: Louisiana is no longer in the top 10, as a result of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. The census data reveals that The preceding narratives and demographic trends described the challenging path that that ex-slaves had to traverse to adapt to a society that was decades or generations ahead of them on a cultural, educational, and psychological plane, and that for decades inhibited their forward progress.
Some were better able to learn the lessons of freedom and the nuances of the culture in which they now lived. For example, many ex-slaves participated in web of secrecy to become educated; some were assisted by their owners and learned how to read and write Williams, By taking the preceding into account, one can understand the decades of sub-standard living, nutritional deficiencies, educational shortcomings, unemployment, and other problems faced by persons with African ancestry as they attempted to assimilate into American society.
Race stratification serves as a basis for the distribution of social privileges and resources; it has clear beneficiaries and clear victims American Sociological Association, Social inequalities still exist, although in much more subtle forms. Positive role models in terms of society roles are primarily limited to athletes and entertainers due to the lack of business role models compared to those of Whites.
Thus, each generation of the descendents of slaves increasingly fell behind the equality curve, as shown by the following example: Consider Bobby and Jimmy, two second- graders, who pay attention in the classroom, do well, and have nearly identical IQs.
Despite their similarities, the difference in the circumstances to which they were born makes it 27 times more likely that Bobby will get a job that by time he is in late his 40s which will pay him an income in the top tenth of all incomes in this country.
Jimmy has about one chance in eight of earning even a median income. As healthcare becomes increasingly more expensive, Blacks are less able to obtain consistent healthcare, which has been a problem for generations.
Health Disparities Population-specific differences in the presence of disease, health outcomes, and access to healthcare are referred to as health disparities HHS Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Healthcare reveals that disparities in healthcare exist even when controlling for gender, condition, age, and socio-economic status.
According to the IOM , racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare are the result of biological, genetic, social, cultural, and environmental factors; differences in rates of access, utilization, and prescription of healthcare services; and specific health behaviors that occur within the context of broader historic and contemporary social and economic inequality. For example, minorities are less likely to be given appropriate cardiac medications, undergo bypass surgery, or receive kidney dialysis or transplants.
In addition, several studies have found significant racial differences in who receives appropriate cancer diagnostic tests and treatments. Minorities also are less likely to receive the most sophisticated treatments for HIV infection, which could forestall the onset of AIDS. In contrast, they are more likely to receive certain less-desirable procedures, such as lower- limb amputations for diabetes and other conditions.
The reference book African Americans: Encyclopedia of Public Health asserts that public health and medicine have historically reflected the racial inequities of American society as manifested in discrimination in medical care, research ethics and applications, professional education, and ideas regarding disease etiology.
This tragic legacy of unethical race biology research in the s was evident in the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study, in which Black men in Alabama unknowingly participated in an experiment from to to determine the health consequences of untreated syphilis, even though there were known treatments for the disease during this period. We had to get sick to get weill, old misis said. Life expectancy at birth was Adults are considered to have a chronic or disability if they reported that a disability or, chronic disease kept them from working full-time or limited housework or other daily activities, or if they reported having diabetes or sugar diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, or other lung conditions, heart disease, hart failure or heart attack.
Commonwealth Fund Healthcare Quality Survey Recent studies have confirmed that despite steady improvements in the overall health of the U. When reviewing the slave census data in comparison to Whites, during the s relatively few slaves lived into old age. Although many historical demographers have found that slaves had longer life expectancies than Southern Whites, others believe the findings should be viewed with caution because the ages of the slaves recorded in plantation books may be inaccurate.
Referring to the census, Stampp noted that the average age of the White population was According to a summary written by McBride , historians have found that U.
The high mortality rates for slaves could be associated with a number of factors, including disease. Historians attribute the difference in life expectancy and mortality rates between slaves and Whites to differences in the quality of life.
Stampp found that poor living standards, such as poorly heated living quarters, greater exposure to the elements, heavier labor, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and inadequate medical care resulted in higher mortality rates for slaves than Whites. Stampp concluded the dietary deficiencies led to decreased resistance to most major diseases.
Minorities are more likely than Whites to have had negative experiences with the American healthcare system. In some cases, differences in treating heart disease, cancer, and HIV infection partly contribute to higher death rates for minorities. Physicians were asked to rate their patients on a variety of personal characteristics such as intelligence, self-control, educational level, pleasantness, rationality, independence, and responsibility.
The physicians rated their African American patients as less intelligent, less educated, more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, more likely to fail to comply with medical advice, more likely to lack social support, and less likely to participate in cardiac rehabilitation than their White patients.
Black patients were rated as less pleasant and less rational than Whites. They did not, however, elucidate the mechanisms by which these attitudes, biases, and stereotypes may result in differences in clinical treatment or the degree to which these attitudes might affect the outcome of patient care IOM, The IOM report found that although it is reasonable to assume that the vast majority of healthcare providers find prejudice morally abhorrent, several studies show that even well- meaning people who are not overtly biased or prejudiced typically demonstrate unconscious negative racial attitudes and stereotypes.
A comparative factor provides an indication of the social inequalities and disparities in health care in the United States among Blacks themselves that is provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. In a study that analyzed health character comparisons between U. Center for Disease Control and Prevention U. Department of Health and Human Services. Washington, D. Total U. Very Good………………………………………… Activity limitation status Not limited or Varied factors affect individual health status.
As pointed out by the example of Bobby and Jimmy in terms of education in the prior section, life-course development and educational attainment and progress are important variables in health disparities. Black immigrants, on average, have a higher educational attainment than their U. African American counterparts, with All African Americans are affected by the legacy of slavery. It does not matter what other races may be bundled into your status as Blacks. It does not matter in the sense that you are included in the stereotype that evokes a combination of antipathy and guilt from the still dominant, White society.
Bringing this forward into the present, the dramatic improvements in healthcare and the overall health of the United States over the last two decades illustrates the divide in healthcare delivery for African Americans.
Formal acknowledgement of health and healthcare disparities in the United States was made by the Department of Health and Human Services when it launched a study in to define and identify the sources of and ways to overcome healthcare disparities. Black families are usually found in high-density urban areas, where they are confronted with issues such as overcrowding, unaffordable housing, higher crime rates, and limited access to resources. Differences attributed to race with regard to socio-economic status, neighborhood conditions, income, and medical care are all contributing factors to disparities in health and illness.
Chadiha and Brown have concluded that the prolonged negative impacts of racism in the United States, societal discrimination, poverty, substandard housing, poor neighborhood conditions, and lack of insurance have led to insufficient access to healthcare of quality, resulting in the poor health outcomes experienced by Blacks.
Some researchers suggest that difference in care may result from conscious or unconscious biases on the part of physicians and other healthcare providers. Patients varied only in race Black or White , sex, male or female , age fifty or seventy years , level of coronary risk, and the result of an exercise stress test.
Schulman et al. This indicates that doctor stereotyping impinge directly on minority patient outcomes. The following section of this study focuses on stereotypes in the context of historical racism, prejudice, bias, and oppression from several theoretical perspectives. Both classical and contemporary works have produced genuine insight into these complex and interrelated problems.
Context of Stereotypes. African Americans have struggled against racial stereotypes for centuries. In colonial America, in an attempt to justify slavery, the White slaveholding class considered Blacks genetically inferior to Whites, with some still holding this stereotype even today.
No single theory can fully explain the mechanism by which stereotypes and stigma are internalized, the extent to which they affect health outcomes, or their impact on individual and group identity. Critical to understanding the mechanism by which stereotypes are internalized is the context in which they occur.
In , Henri Tajfel and John Turner developed social identity theory, which explains how individuals define themselves by their group membership and assert that this social identity is part of their self-concept. Social identity theory is based on the following four central ideas: Turner et al. Individuals identify with groups with which they perceive that they belong. Such identification carries two meanings. Social comparison: Festinger assert that in humans there exists a drive to evaluate his opinions and abilities by comparison with the opinions and abilities of others.
Both opinions and abilities have a strong impact on his behavior. These tendencies, according to Festinger, create a status structure, held in place by both higher and lower groups because it allows everyone to evaluate themselves within their own group.
In lower groups, there might be greater pressures to conform because they would seek stronger support within themselves. Singh et al. Status hierarchies convey the notion that each individual occupies a position along the social status continuum that he or she has earned and therefore deserves. According to Pratto and Sidanius , stereotyping and prejudice results from cognitions thoughts, beliefs, and expectations about people based simply on their group membership. While racial discrimination concerns how groups are treated, racial stigma concerns how people are perceived.
Stigmatized individuals are commonly the targets of stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination Biernat, Dovidio, Merton utilized the self-fulfilling prophecy construct to explain how a belief or expectation, whether correct or not, affects the outcome of a situation or the way that a person or group will behave.
According to the concept of the self-fulfilling prophecy, once deviant individuals or groups are labeled as such, they will internalize this label and begin to believe it themselves.
Resiliency After years of focusing on pathology, social scientists have begun the task of identifying the strengths, resources, and talents of individuals and families. Others have cited differences between the resiliency found in individuals and the resiliency found in families.
Rutter recognized that resiliency changes in people across time as circumstances and situations change; at one time, a person may respond to a stressful event successfully, but the same event at another time may produce disheartening results. Rutter advocates the use of protective mechanisms rather than resilience, and postulates that there are four main processes for developing protective mechanisms: These and other protective mechanisms are facilitated and maintained through strong family relationships, the Black church, and a strong and mobilized community.
In consideration of these complex variables, the following sets forth the manner in which the research aims were accomplished. The classic slave narratives are stirring and often highly literary textualizations of human experience in extremis. In contrast, the narratives before us are better termed "testimony. Though both are mediated narratives, the distinction between slave narrative or autobiography or memoir and testimony is a valuable one, I think, given that different mental and confessional processes and constraints were at work in each and that they originated at different historical junctures.
Moreover, the nineteenth century narratives were meant to supply an effective weapon against slavery itself, whereas the WPA narratives were commissioned to document the past. Interviewers recruited from unemployment rolls were sent out with a questionnaire designed in Washington by John A.
The Reviews answers obtained were duly noted and turned over to writers, who then converted the responses to narrative format, keeping the integrity of the original speech and respecting with remarkable success the quaUty of oral performance. One imagines that doing this field work without benefit of tape recorder must have been arduous and Hmiting in and of itself. Even without immediate access to the questionnaire one can sense the control exerted through what must have been systematized questions, such as "Who were your masters?
How were you treated? What do you recaU about the Civil War? Did you attend church? What schooling did you receive? Do you believe in spirits? What cures or remedies did you use? How did you learn that you were no longer a slave? Reporters made decisions in the field that affected content, as in the case of one employee who admitted, "My interviews are short but I find them such a repetition that I do not write all they tell me.
Baker and Baker call for care and sensitivity in interpreting the final product, noting that "Readers of the slave narratives must approach Access options available:. Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide.