Working Cures: Healing Health And Power On Southern Plantations Summary

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Over 400 years ago white supremacists captured Africans from their homelands. Whites densely packed Africans on ships under sadistic conditions. As profoundly autocratic, demoralizing, and deeply unethical; slavery in the Americas undermined the physical and mental health of African-Americans. African American author Mattie J. Jackson writes, “ I am infirm and burdened with the influence with slavery whose impress will ever remain on my mind and body”( Fett, p. 15). The separation of families, disruption of communities, being held in captivity, extraneous labor and punishment, violated the health of the enslaved. In Sharla Fett’s book titled, Working Cures: Healing Health, and Power On Southern Plantations, she explores the conflicting health belief systems of slaveholders and slaves. Slaveholders and medical physicians focused on the medical needs of the enslaved when it threatened the slave institution. In contrast, slaves used their health…show more content…
To begin with, slaveholders and physicians focused on the medical needs of their most worthy and productive slaves. The southern economy relied on slave-worked plantations and the production of goods such as cotton and tobacco. Slaveholder gathered at auction yards in hopes of obtaining slaves free of illnesses and did not have a history of disobedience. Fett , writes , “ Through the notion of soundness, slaveholders and physicians defined slave health as “the capacity to labor, reproduce, obey ,and submit” ( p. 20) .Slaveholders forced slaves against their will to work on plantations under barbarous conditions. Moreover, slaveholders provided slaves with poor housing and sanitation and insufficient food and water that often led to sickness. Fett writes, “ When it came to the business of the plantation , slaveholders and overseers

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