I Like Pig Butts And I Cannot Lie Shirt

I Like Pig Butts And I Cannot Lie Shirt

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I Like Pig Butts And I Cannot Lie Shirt

When examining the many causes of death among young slaves, smothering or overlaying has received an unusual amount of attention. The inability to explain these deaths led to the assumption that careless, “wearied” mothers were responsible for the deaths. In one slaveholder’s mind, the mother was responsible, regardless of the cause. He wrote, “Dolly overlaid her child (Catherine), about five months old.” Victims of “overlaying” or “suffocation” were generally infants between two weeks and one year of age who died without obvious signs of illness during the coldest months of the year. When explaining the death of her child, the former Tunica, Mississippi, slave Tabby Abby told a federal interviewer that she fell asleep while breast-feeding her only and “rolled over him and smothered him to death.” A tone of guilt lingered in her voice. Abby, like many slave mothers, held herself liable and suffered a needless ordeal.(43)

When comparing contemporary infant mortality rates with antebellum records of suffocation, there are similarities. Medical historian Todd Savitt suggests that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS: rather than suffocation caused these deaths. The SIDS explanation is plausible since deaths from “suffocation” continued after slavery ended when reasons for resistance were no longer present. Additionally, the high death rates among African American infants continued notwithstanding changes in the working conditions of many mothers. This further suggests that “tired and careless” women did not overlay their children. Current research suggests that numerous children, regardless of race, class, or the season of the year, stop breathing momentarily during sleep. The cause of SIDS remains a mystery.(44)

Poor prenatal care and diets rich in calorie content but inadequate in nutrients, combined with heavy physical work were overriding factors in low birth weights and the resulting high infant mortality rates. Frances Kemble thought that “the number [of children] they bear as compared with the number they rear [is] a fair gauge of the effect of the system on their health and that of their offspring.”(45)

The childless Everard Green Baker, a Mississippi planter, agonized over the death of his dog Luck and wrote: “I do not know what feeling a parent has for a child but if our affections for our species are proportionate to those we entertain for the favorite of the brute creation, I never wish to have children if they are to die before me.” He eventually became a father and was overwrought when his son fell in 1850.(46)

 

I Like Pig Butts And I Cannot Lie Shirt
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