Tracing Love, Loss, and Black Motherhood in the Afterlife of Slavery

Lecture Description

This talk traces the “afterlife of slavery” by investigating narratives of infant loss in African American women’s lives. Through an analysis of oral histories collected in the U.S. South in the 1930s-ex-slave interviews– LaKisha Michelle Simmons details a black maternal embodiment that highlights a connection to the enslaved past, a “cultural familiarity” with death and mourning, and a need to claim loss as an act of radical black mothering. Simmons suggests that understanding the long history of loss and death of black infants and mothers helps contextualize African American women’s current high rates of maternal mortality, miscarriage, premature and low-birth weight births, fibroids and endometriosis, African American infant’s high rates of infant death and the need for reproductive justice frameworks.


African American Oral history

ALL TOPICS & TITLES: Go back to all topics and titles.

LaKisha Michelle Simmons

VIEW SPEAKER : LaKisha Michelle Simmons

More Distinguished Lectureship Program Resources