It is truly disturbing to think that Bajan mothers murdered their own newborns as an act of rebellion to deny human slave assets to their captors and owners.
We know that as the Atlantic slave trade and supplies of new slaves dried up due to the efforts of abolitionists, plantation owners in the Caribbean and USA placed the emphasis on breeding new stock. The record is clear that some plantation owners thought it their right to impregnate their slaves with white blood for ‘better product’.
It is difficult to think that captive human beings were treated as property to this extent, but that was the reality of the day. The master had all rights, the female slave had none.
As you read the following article, just remember this…
There are more slaves held in captivity today than at any other time in history.
The obvious response to slave infanticide is to conceptualize it as an act of desperation, a sad act, or an act of altruism, in the sense that it was intended to save enslaved children from a life of hard labor, degradation, and physical, sexual, and mental abuse.
But what if slave infanticide, in all its horror, was an expression of resistance? To conceptualize it this way places agency back in the hands of the slave women who killed their children, because it assumes that their decision was actively, discursively antagonistic and insurrectionary.