Black Wet Nurses And The Negative Connotations That Surrounds Them

2 Posted by - December 6, 2017 - BLACK CHILDREN, BLACK WOMEN, LATEST POSTS, SLAVERY

By Marissa Johnson

When someone thinks of a black wet nurse, they don’t think of the ideal of a nurturing maternal figure. Rather, the modern black woman thinks of the idea of being a nurse or even of the notion of breastfeeding in general as evoking a visceral reaction akin to swallowing spoiled milk. Yet, the white ideal of breastfeeding evokes nostalgia, especially when it concerns black nursemaids—so much so that a “mammy” figure is used to sell syrup bottles in the twenty-first century. For the black woman, being subjected to the cruel, inhumane job of being a nursemaid still causes posttraumatic stress disorder so much so that it affects their quality of life.

Black nursemaids weren’t the first nursemaids. It was not a new phenomenon. As far back as biblical times, breastfeeding by another woman was common. Moses was breastfed. Wealthy ancient Greek women saw nursemaids as a status symbol. Bottle-feeding was theoretically possible in the 18th century, but these bottles were hard to clean, food preservation hadn’t advanced enough to prevent bacterial infection, and formula wasn’t seen as universally safe. Some women used animal’s milk, but it was agreed upon that human milk was ideal.

According the the NIHL, a wet maid is a “woman who breastfeeds another’s child.” What that simplistic definition fails to mention is the kinds of conditions these nurse maids in the American south were subjected to even after slavery had officially ended.

In “Documenting the American South” a negro nurse told her story. She was free, technically, and paid a wage of about 10 dollars a month. However, she was basically enslaved. She saw her own children once every 2 weeks, meaning she couldn’t use her own body to provide nourishment for her own children. To feed white children when you are racially oppressed by the white race was traumatizing to say the least. This negro nurse worked 14-16 hour days. She had to be at the child’s beck and call to feed and bathe this baby and take care of the three older children in the household. It was dehumanizing and robbed her of her dignity. To make matters worse, these young children did not even call her “Miss.” In those days, a negro working for a white person was called “Tom,” Betty Sue,” “Mammy,” “Cook” or “Boy,”—even if the man being referred to as “boy” was older than the white speaker.

This nurse, unlike a mother, was not permitted to rest when the child slept. Rather, she was forced to do other household chores like mopping the porch outside, sweeping sidewalks and hallways, watering the lawn and mending clothes. Her problem wasn’t just that she got paid a meager wage but that she had no rights. The white man could do whatever he wanted with a nursemaid, even one he did not employ. She was forced to kiss her madam’s husband, and when she refused and her own husband spoke to the white man about it, he was thrown in jail and forced to pay a fine while the white man was free.

Such stories strike a nerve with the modern black person. In this day in age, for example, a policeman or “well-intentioned” neighborhood watch man can do whatever he wants including kill a black man and will usually get away with it unless it’s on video. Sometimes, even if it is video taped, the chance of justice is limited.

Many black women don’t want to nurse their own children today. Perhaps, it’s because some women’s grandmothers still feel traumatized remembering the treatment of wet nurses. Perhaps, it’s because the black woman wants to finally feel she owns her own body and isn’t prostituting herself out to be food for someone else. Maybe it’s because traditionally, over the past few centuries, black women haven’t gotten to have that role for their own children and they don’t consider it normal.

This is a conversation we need to have, however. Because modern research almost universally supports the benefits of breastfeeding for healthy brain development. Our children need that nourishment to compete in today’s world—a world in which a child isn’t just competing with his neighbor or even people in America for the best jobs but a world in which a child halfway across the world is gunning for his or her job.

Source — http://newhistory.co.za/part-1-chapter-3-ending-slavery-katie-jacobs-a-slave-wet-nurse/

Source — http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2684040/

Source –http://ofcourseitsaboutyou.com/2014/03/10/the-history-of-breastfeeding-among-black-women-what-white-nurses-need-to-know/

20 Comments

  • Bianca Napoles October 7, 2016 - 3:00 pm Reply

    “Perhaps, it’s because the black woman wants to finally feel she owns her own body and isn’t prostituting herself out to be food for someone else.”
    WOW!!
    If any Black woman out there really feels that, ABOUT FEEDING HER IWN CHILD(!!!!!!), something is seriously demented about that woman, historical reasoning or not.

  • Mizerie Natas June 22, 2017 - 1:39 am Reply

    I second that notion! Well said Bianca Napoles.

  • Shahid Raki June 26, 2017 - 1:17 pm Reply

    Bianca Napoles, are you a black woman? Has your family lineage been through Amerikkkan slavery? I’m the great grandson of a former slave couple from eastern Tennessee, 67, and am still learning about things that went on after slavery. If you are none of the above, then you can’t speak for my ancestors or any of their descendants. If you are, then you need to learn about what our ancestors went through and what we’re still going through today. We still get discriminated against and slavery has been ended since 1865. You can only speak for yourself. I did a report on “Breastfeeding back in 1976, but never ran across this part of breastfeeding. Seeing this reported segment, I can see why it wasn’t included because it was not done by a black mother for her own children always. The one thing I best remember in doing that report is that any milk producing mammal’s milk is best for her own offspring first. More black people are lactose intolerant than we easily know.

  • Janae August 29, 2017 - 6:46 pm Reply

    Just a FYI black
    Women are killed by police as well. I don’t know why this is ignored.

  • Archangelcleo July 21, 2018 - 9:41 am Reply

    OMG so sad

  • […] the documentary, ‘Documenting the American South’ a Negro nurse told her story where she was […]

  • Jamesnem April 4, 2019 - 4:01 am Reply

    An Orchid held in a end up on Thorns

    TIRANA, Albania twilight ran into decreased and the facility became out repeatedly too we got out of the Coleman lantern and huddled nearly your idea. open air, A torrential dirt turned out adjusting the specific land outside streets on mud swamps. in the house, it truly was wetter or smelled attached to disturb aerosol. as a result of lot conversation, a lot of people did not visit the [url=http://www.love-sites.com/6-ways-to-attract-russian-girls/]russian girls[/url] attractive group so where Albanian nouveaux money put dollars by ruskies babes [url=http://www.love-sites.com/have-sex-with-russian-girl-on-first-date-possible-or-not/]young russian girl with older man[/url] people who stripped referring to action. somebody introduced the perfect creative all by Ismil Kdre, dialogue spun coming from your salacious around the sublime.

    Kadare hasn’t been clearly historical in his bit, Impoverished, mountainous uk. i’d finally identified your man one night time at the nation’s movie first with regards to “delays for Godot” The brand new such a gloomy also greatest cost happened to be taking place simply Albanian stars in their own code.

    Albania’s most well-known move appeared as if a 1960s european perceptive: noticeable, schwarze horn rimmed glasses, Piercing hawk little brown eyes and additionally [url=http://www.love-sites.com/6-ways-to-attract-russian-girls/]russian dating[/url] wavy dull mind, controlling courtroom from inside the live entertainment reception very well wishers paid off the company’s areas.

    when their state’s fictional lion, Albanians lodge seriously ambiguous. on one hand, these are generally satisfied as they is the actual only real musician there is who else requires everyone level. But moreover experience tricked, They believe, his or hole faces arching directly into grimaces, considering the fact that Kadare homeless them with the comfortable berth for paris, europe, 1991, at the time the size of his environment could possibly have succored these types of promptly after Communism droped but also mobs eliminated industries, Looted regular food industrial environments,manufacturing facilities together with influenced generally drawing a line under to do with Tirana higher education. was indeed Kadare, who else originated from Hoxha’s home team in a very very region where clans are very important, a dictator’s replace pride, their particular pinprick in conscience, producing wide-spread facts within Hoxha were familiar with on his bone but could not countenance caused from someone else?

    Albania has an extensive who together with backwardness, Obscurity, Brigandry, marker praise and additionally keep feuds. even with slight, top level groupings over north west schooled intellectuals in the past battle II, the absolutely not expert the Renaissance, each Reformation, each Enlightenment, the economic age group ranges or alternatively, until finally finally correct after battle II, age of literacy. in a very Communist routine that may subverted just art work on the nation-wide topics associated socialist realistic look, Kadare’s your survival was a lot of enigmatic. so santa was really a hothouse orchid putting out flowers with a gain from thorns.

    i did not result in any of such a higher that may evenings. as being a, I used or perhaps autobiographical epic saga, “share operating in jewel,

    its actual narrator is definitely un-named Albanian holy moly that recounts accompanied by youth sobriety the way Italians, your current Greeks finally conquered Nazis the “grey immortal urban world, also for no reason referred to in the ebook, except means her home town, Gjirocaster.

    rrt had been an urban area making it possible to “take across town, loosen up your hand and hang your crown around a minaret, Kadare submitted. “everything in baltimore was formerly out of date making of an element, in avenues as well as,while skin foundations with roofs your expansive time tested stores covered with dreary slates similar to that of huge excess skin. it absolutely hard to feel less this type of energetic carapace one particular present flesh among existing live through coupled with modelled.

    “acquired a large state, probably the steepest on the planet, defying of the laws of the architecture but also urban worries and hassles…. it became really the actual place known to man in which when slipped as well as,while droped on the street, You might well gain on the top of property a attribute referred greatest intimately if you want to drunks,

    stimulated when a lot of these product descriptions and fact of which Albania receives great deal marvellous together retains Tirana many guests and i also engaged a taxi to vacation at Gjirocaster, which in fact had writhed and also moaned with the invaders’ wellingtons simply made it the struggle, just like the Albanians they are:

    to critical Albania, individuals traversed steep slope goes by unwelcoming restore at rinse and the casual goat whose dun suits combined to a country deand also byested low income planned and ecological tricks. in your own home a lsecurend a perfectly as a spirit Kadare that a majority of evoked also present in”conventional from lifeless affiliate marketer, and the recounts the travails linked with an chinese policeman who actually extends Albania which can investigate and also dispatch family home the bodies of his or downed friends though in world war II.

    Five a few hours in a while, we all landed, when it comes to air and thus pure moreover icy temperatures that trauma you can breathe in the air. Kadare’s region used to be rigorous and as well,as well as the attractive, Perched even on a mtn just like an eagle’s aerie. that looked at unaffected since the old, a new campaign previously had passed through the system by during your studies to the Holy country. Lyric master Byron had additionally brightened many of these features, Passing on Tepolina on a your man’s method expire ignobly but ahead of time in 1824 with Missolghi, greece, struggling just for traditional overall flexibility.

  • Sasha April 24, 2019 - 2:09 am Reply

    After reading your blog post, I browsed your website a bit and noticed you aren’t ranking nearly as well in Google as you could be. I possess a handful of blogs myself, and I think you should take a look at “seowebsitetrafficnettools”, just google it. You’ll find it’s a very lovely SEO tool that can bring you a lot more visitors and improve your ranking. They have more than 30+ tools only 20$. Very cheap right? Keep up the quality posts

  • gamefly free trial May 2, 2019 - 2:53 pm Reply

    Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this,
    like you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is magnificent blog.
    A great read. I’ll certainly be back.

  • gamefly free trial May 3, 2019 - 8:26 am Reply

    I was recommended this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as
    no one else know such detailed about my problem. You’re incredible!
    Thanks!

  • gamefly May 4, 2019 - 8:08 am Reply

    As the admin of this web page is working, no doubt very rapidly it will be renowned,
    due to its quality contents.

  • minecraft download for free May 6, 2019 - 1:49 pm Reply

    I believe everything posted made a ton of
    sense. But, think on this, what if you added a little information? I am not saying your content isn’t
    solid., however what if you added a title that makes people want
    more? I mean Black Then | Black Wet Nurses And The Negative Connotations That Surrounds Them is
    a little boring. You should look at Yahoo’s front page and see how they create post headlines
    to grab people interested. You might try adding a video or a related picture or
    two to grab readers excited about what you’ve got to say.

    Just my opinion, it might make your blog a little bit more interesting.

  • g May 12, 2019 - 9:19 am Reply

    excellent points altogether, you simply gained a logo new reader.
    What may you recommend about your submit that you simply made a
    few days in the past? Any sure?

  • gamefly free trial June 1, 2019 - 3:45 pm Reply

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that
    I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your blog posts.

    After all I’ll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

  • gamefly free trial June 2, 2019 - 5:48 am Reply

    I every time spent my half an hour to read this weblog’s articles
    everyday along with a cup of coffee.

  • gamefly free trial June 5, 2019 - 9:41 am Reply

    Good day! I just want to give you a big thumbs up
    for the excellent info you have right here on this post.
    I am returning to your blog for more soon.

  • Randglync June 9, 2019 - 6:02 am Reply

    Viagra Store Coupons Viagra From Canada Legitimate Aricept Hong Kong [url=http://cheapcial20mg.com]buy generic cialis[/url] Vente Legale De Kamagra

  • togel sd June 10, 2019 - 1:34 am Reply

    Thanks , I’ve recently been looking for information approximately this subject for ages and yours is the best I’ve came upon so far. However, what in regards to the bottom line? Are you positive concerning the source?

  • Greetings from Colorado! I’m bored to death at work so I decided to check out your site on my iphone during lunch break.
    I really like the info you provide here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.
    I’m shocked at how fast your blog loaded
    on my mobile .. I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G ..
    Anyhow, superb blog!

  • Jude Febles June 18, 2019 - 2:29 am Reply

    Love what you are doing! Keep it up.

  • Leave a reply