I am raising money to help with a research project focusing on breastfeeding in the Mississippi Delta, USA.
My visit to the Delta will be from mid-August through the end of September 2016.
I am interested in breastfeeding among Black and African Americans because I am interested in helping to curb the staggering disjuncture and counter the maladies that more breastfeeding can help guard against. Currently, Black women have the lowest breastfeeding rates of any group in the country. These realities mean that Black people in America remain compromised, since breastfeeding can help counter various issues in terms of mental and physical health, environmental, and has countless other benefits.
This year will be my second visit to the location as an anthropologist, graduate student, and formal researcher, all are components of critical and transformative activist work. As of yet, I haven't found other Black anthropologists in this country who concentrate on Black breastfeeding or who have done so. I believe my unique vantage point as a Black feminist anthropologist means that I bring a brand new perspective to the breastfeeding realm. It also means that a brand new set of questions can emerge, brand new theories are produced, and my work can highlight brand new ways of community participation to help center and heal historical wounds, contemporary traumas, and a list of other things that stand in the way of breastfeeding justice. My methods then and now in the Delta are to survey the area and to gather as much information as I can from professionals and residents regarding their views and perspectives on breastfeeding, to visit the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, various Health Departments, and to gather more everyday experiences that relate to this important subject.
Mississippi is important as an area of focus to me not only because I was born in the state and have ties to kin, am deeply connected to the land and its history, but also because to me, Mississippi harbors the richest history for Black people -- in terms of radical oppression by the state and radical resistance by the people -- many who fought and gave their lives voluntarily and involuntarily to resist dehumanization. I think this plays a tremendous role in the current status of the state and the fact that the region has the lowest breastfeeding rates of any state in the union.
Last year, with a small funding grant from my department, the graduate school, along with some community outreach, I was able to pilot this work and am looking to continue it even before extensive ethnographic dissertation research, in which I will live in Mississippi for approximately 1.5-2 years. I received no funding at all this year from my department, or otherwise, but do not want to halt this crucial work. The amount I am raising here will go toward travel to and from the state, intra-state travel, lodging, food, and various other supplies for the five weeks I am in the region. I appreciate any help with this.
Visit my website, which also includes a way to contact me, provides the opportunity to gain a more in-depth view of my work: Lactation Journey Blog
* The image above of a Black woman breastfeeding, is from Time Life Magazine
, taken at a public health department in Greenville, Misssissippi, in 1937. I do not own the rights to this image and am using it only for education purposes.