ne by one, the hands went up at the Auburn Avenue Research Library in Atlanta — 21st-century women making important, visceral connections to 18th century enslaved women in Jamaica.
The audience participation reinforced what Sasha Turner, associate professor of history, learned after 10 years of research for her multiple award-winning book, “Contested Bodies: Pregnancy, Childrearing, and Slavery in Jamaica."
For decades, Turner explained to her Atlanta audience, white doctors from England — “man-midwives” as they were known — stopped the Afro-Caribbean childbirth traditions and rituals of slave women. The doctors imposed European methods for childbirth to control the experience — and the women — by cutting the cord to the past.
And the future.
Over the past year, Turner has spoken about her research to audiences in the United States and abroad — including New York, North Carolina, California, Seville, Spain and her native Jamaica. She said the racist oppression that existed 250 years ago in the colonies and the Caribbean persists in contemporary America.