Infanticide and infant abandonment in the new south

Richmond, Virginia, 1865-1915

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The Civil War and Reconstruction and the South's postbellum industrialization produced economic dislocation on a tremendous scale. One product of that economic upheaval was an increasing problem of infanticides and infant abandonments. This case study of Richmond, Virginia, examines patterns of abandonment and neonaticide as documented in records of the city almshouse and the city coroner. It demonstrates that race shaped the options available to women with problem pregnancies in that African American women had access to fewer social welfare institutions such as maternity homes. As a result, unmarried black women kept their out-of-wedlock babies more often than did whites, but they also committed infanticide at higher rates than did whites. Moreover, racial trends in infanticides and infant abandonment suggest that Richmond's white working class experienced economic advancements at the turn of the twentieth century, while the city's black working class continued to live in depression-like conditions throughout the period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-211
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Family History
Volume24
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

infant
working class
economics
industrialization
social welfare
civil war
baby
pregnancy
twentieth century
reconstruction
trend
Economics
Infanticide
Abandonment
Working Class
American
Industrialization
Almshouse
Maternity
Dislocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this

Infanticide and infant abandonment in the new south : Richmond, Virginia, 1865-1915. / Green, Elna C.

In: Journal of Family History, Vol. 24, No. 2, 01.01.1999, p. 187-211.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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