SURF

Jessica Allen

The Hidden Inheritance of Black Genealogies

The constellation of black genealogies begins and starts from black wombs. In essence, the womb provides safe incubation for a developing fetus and is, in essence, the location where you’re most connected with your source of life on a physical, emotional, and quantum spiritual level. The inhumane conditions of chattel slavery were rooted in control, regulation, and constant demand. The agents of white supremacy preyed on colonizing Black wombs by stripping autonomy, severing parent and child attachment bonds, surveillance, and assuming ownership of infants and children to supply the next generation of forced labor and enslavement. This constant supply and demand to restock plantation communities made Black wombs an inexhaustible commodity and money-making device. According to the statistics from the National Partnership of Women and their Families, “Black women are three to four times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death than white women in 2019, and Black women are three times more likely to have fibroids (benign tumors that grow in the uterus and can cause postpartum hemorrhaging) than white women” (NPWF, 2019). The transmission of trauma impacts generations of Black genealogies, as it dictates the physical health, mental health, and birth outcomes for offspring, far beyond the origin of trauma. The reality of trauma is that it threatens the physical, emotional, psychological, and/or spiritual integrity of a person and thereby harmfully impacts people long after the experience is over. The impact of those acute or chronic traumas can live on in the individual, family, and culture for years and even generations, and untended trauma can take a life of its own and impact one’s reality and relationships to self and others. These health effects are terrifying; along with the realities of epigenetics and trauma transmission, Black families have interconnected, overlapping oppressions that systemic racism over the generations has created: issues concerning birth, socioeconomic access, and adequate healthcare.

Message to Sponsor

Thank you for taking a stand for diverse voices, scholars, and intellectual growth. I am looking forward to pursuing my research this summer, thank you!
  • Major: African-American Studies & Geography
  • Sponsor: Gates Foundation
  • Mentor: Brandi Catanese