(Political) Anesthesia or (Political) Memory:The Combahee River Collective and the Death of Black Women in Custody
Why do investigations of murders of Black Women during police stops and in custody so often result in being deemed a "good kill" and "within policy?" The essay explores violence against Black Women through theorizing the political order as a "slave polity" whose long reliance on "biomedical racialization" and the medical plantation have shaped the historical relationship between the society and Black Women. Reading two artistic works, the theater and digital humanities project, The Anarcha Project (2007/8) and Austin Clarke's novel The Polished Hoe (2002), the essay offers a critical theory analysis of Combahee River Collective's (1970s–1980s) philosophy of liberation.
Every week since Dorcas' death, during the whole of January and February, a paper laid bare the bones of some broken woman. Man kills wife. Eight accused of rape dismissed. Woman and girl victims of. Woman commits suicide. White attackers indicted. Five women caught. Woman says man beat. In jealous rage man. …Read carefully the news accounts revealed that most of these women subdued and broken, had not been defenseless. Or… easy prey. All over the country, black women were armed. That, thought Alice, that at least they had learned. Didn't everything on God's earth have or acquire defense? Speed, some poison on the leaf, the tongue, the tail? A mask, flight, numbers in the millions producing numbers in the millions? A thorn here, a spike there. Natural prey? Easy pickings? "I don't think so." Aloud she said it. "I don't think so."
Other women, however, had not surrendered. All over the country they were armed. …Black women were armed; black women were dangerous. …What the world had done to them it was now doing to itself. …Were the women fondled in kitchens and the back of stores? Uh-huh. Did police put their fists in women's faces so the husband's spirits would break along with the women's jaws? Did men (those who knew them as well as strangers sitting in motor cars) call them out of their names every single day of their lives? [End Page 259] Uh-huh. …God's wrath, so beautiful, so simple. Their enemies got what they wanted, became what they visited on others.Toni Morrison1
Don't Touch Me—Traffic Stop Murders and Death in Custody
Like the founders, activists, and citizen journalists of Black Lives Matter and the #sayhername campaigns (the African American Policy Forum)2 have done since 2012 and the Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders in Los Angeles did beginning in 1983, the Combahee River Collective (1970s-1980s) affirmed that Black Women were fighting back by documenting and protesting murders by serial killers in uniform and serial killers in the social uniform of a post-slavery habitus.3 Police departments, police commissions, and sheriff's agencies all shared equally in the blame. Notably, Los Angeles Chief Gates called the advocacy of Black Women activists like journalist Margaret Prescod and attorney Nana Gyamfi and local elected officials "harassment" of officers. The murders of dozens of Black Women in Boston, Los Angeles, and all points in between were investigated by the police, when at all, in a lackadaisical and morally negligent fashion.
Black Lives Matter activist Sandra Bland was murdered on July 13, 2015 after being arrested during what has yet to be determined an illegal traffic stop for a "failure to signal" before changing lanes. When she confronted Officer Brian Encinia with "You don't have a right to do that…I refuse to talk to you other than to identify myself. Don't touch me I'm not under arrest…Why am I being apprehended?" she was pulled from her vehicle and thus began the brutal last 72 hours of her life in state custody.4 Sandra Bland's family was told that she committed suicide.
Wakeisha Wilson was found hanging from the cord of a public telephone two feet off the ground of her cell in Los Angeles on Easter Sunday, March 27, 2016. Neither the court, nor the jail, nor the coroner's office notified her family despite her non-appearance while still in custody at her regularly scheduled court date on March 29th. Like the family of Sandra Bland, Wilson's family—who spoke with her just hours before her alleged suicide—has disputed the official account of her death. Using the national and local organizing arm of Black Lives Matter and Mothers of the Movement, Bland's mother, Geneva Reed-Veal, was a featured speaker along with other mothers at the July 2016 Democratic National Convention and at the Congressional Caucus on Black Women and Girls in April 2016. When no one in the audience at the latter meeting could name the other six women killed while in police custody in July 2015, Reed-Veal recited their stories herself after challenging them to look up their names: [End Page 260]
Kindra Chapman allegedly stole a cell phone; 2.5 hours later she hung herself. Alexis McGovern downstairs in the infirmary dead, family upstairs paying the bond. Nobody has spoken these names. And as I go around the country speaking, the fact that no hand is raised in a room, where six other women, aside from my daughter, have died. And nobody knows their names. That's a problem.5
Wakeisha Wilson's mother, Lisa Hines, an activist in Black Lives Matter-LA has attended the Los Angeles Police Commission hearings and publicly requested updates in the investigation of her daughter's death in custody only to be met by the sneering, disinterested faces of police commissioners and the threats and intimidation by a phalanx of officers who ring the walls of the police commissioners public meeting place. Reduced to "begging for information" Hines explains that "she hasn't had one single phone call, email, piece of mail or anything in the way of an update regarding the investigation into the death of her only daughter from the LAPD. Now remember that this is the same department that also didn't bother to notify her that Ms. Wilson had died."6
Armed with a kitchen knife Redel Jones was killed by an LAPD officer on August 12, 2015 in broad daylight after fleeing from a pharmacy she had just robbed. A destitute mother, Jones was the 13th person of the 25 shot by officers of the Los Angeles department to die in 2015. Her husband Marcus Vaughn in testimony to the Los Angeles Police Commission on July 12, 2016 said "She did not deserve to be sitting in a cold morgue for two weeks before any of us even knew that she was dead. That's on you. Her blood is on all of you. My children's tears are on all of you."7 After consideration, the police commission ruled her death "within policy"—a tragedy but still "good policing." Such a determination could only be possible in a society where the sexualized torture of Black Women has been sutured to science and social order. Nearly ten thousand people marched in Inglewood, California on Sunday July 17, 2016 to protest the police commission ruling on the murder of Redel Jones.
Shaylene Graves was one of the dozens of incarcerated persons to have ended their lives in the last four years at the California Institute for Women Correctional Facility in Corona, California.8 Graves life was ended amidst a suicide crisis that is "more than eight times the national rate for people in women's prisons and more than five times the rate for all California prisons. In January 2016, a court-ordered suicide prevention audit concluded that CIW "continued to be a problematic institution that exhibited numerous poor practices in the area of suicide prevention."9 When Graves died on July 1, 2016 she followed those who predeceased her including: Erika Rocha (April 14, 2016); Margarita Murugia (July 30, 2014); Shadae "Dae Dae" Schmidt (March 24, 2014) and so many other people.10 [End Page 261]
On this important anniversary, forty years "After the Combahee River Collective" we are reminded of the extraordinary and yet fairly normalized violence against Black Women that the Black Lives Matter movement seeks to name, remember, and revolt against. In such conditions, disruption of the normalcy of social orderliness is required. The primary ethical response must be one which is "against civility" and the regime of decorum that the slave polity asks us to adhere to.11
Though, my interpretation of these murders follows Saidiya Hartman's convincing warning against studying only spectacular scenes of violence during slavery,12 I take from Hartman that it is still important to consider the normal social scenarios of what has been deemed "good science" and "good policing." The point of attending to these is not to make a spectacle of them but instead to remember what has compelled armed resistance by organizations like the Combahee River Collective. Thus, the scenario of pathologists and forensic scientists receiving the bodies of dead Black people and reporting that there is no vocabulary to assign to explain state murder of Black people. The only vocabulary is "within policy" and "good kill." Such scenes need a history of medical plantations to explain the necessary relationship between growing medical and forensic science and epidemic numbers of Black people murdered by the state because of their "biomedical racialization."13 By rendering the medical plantation in a robust and systematic conversation with the "force-ripening" of actual enslaved women like Lucy, Betsey, Anarcha, and historical representations of them like Mary Mathilda Gertrude Bellfeels, and the countless women remembered by the Black Lives Matter Movement and the African American Policy Forum we come to understand the generalized ethos that links the surveillance of Black female bodily changes and reproductive health under enslavement to the massive contemporary expansion in the financialization and medicalization of policing Black female bodies, an entire discursive world sustained by grief and subjection.
We have now come to the point where the violence by police against Black Women is so lethal that it is common for Black Women to call the police during police stops14—stops that numerous reports indicate are almost always the result of gross negligence, a will to violate and humiliate, and illegal violations of habeas corpus. This violence bespeaks the fundamental relationship between Black Women and the state and the society: whether the perpetrator is known or unknown, an agent of the state, an intimate partner, or the state itself.15 The point of attending to these cases is not to make a spectacle of them but to remember what has compelled armed resistance by Black Women against the pathologists and forensic scientists and policing agents who continually designate state [End Page 262] murder of Black people with the vocabulary of "within policy," "no human involved," and "good kill." Under such regimes of brute force, everything is "within policy." The silence about these murders in custody, in addition to the murders themselves points to the basic incorporation of the practices of the medical plantation on the enslaved into everyday life—and the significance of slave status passing through the line of the mother. These murders bespeak a process of normalizing this violence and suturing it to the good work of life-extending and social order-protecting state. Taking Kenyon Farrow's pleading and caution that progressive Black people attend to: 1) state violence and also intramural violence and, 2) the ways that carcerality operates across institutions with special attention to the medical health industries, I find increasingly that taking the lessons from critical approaches to the study of race and medicine in society opens up how we approach murders of Black Women in custody.16 The study of gender inequality in political science needs a history of "biomedical racialization,"17 the medical plantation, and the surveillance and policing of Black female bodies to theorize an entire discursive world sustained by grief and subjection. These cases are exemplary of the pervasive idea that Black Women are disposable and that whatever injury is done to them serves some necessary and legitimized part of the gender-racial-sexual logic of social order. Such totalizing conditions have drawn activists into the street, onto highways, into fearless physical confrontations, and with the state. This is the world that conjures contemporary collective action against gender inequality, a world that each of us needs to theorize, mobilize against… and ultimately destroy. Though, some of us can afford to jest about "polishing our hoe," or other such tools of self-defense, others of us keep it sharpened and always at the ready.
The Slave Polity and the Combahee River Collective
There is a political history to be excavated that will help us theorize the relative silence about and acceptance of murders of Black Women in custody today. I have turned to the history of the Combahee River Collective (1970s-1980s), a Boston activist black feminist lesbian movement organization, and the extraordinary and yet fairly normalized violence against Black Women that was part of what the collective was founded to address. … a serial killer killing scores of Black Women and a media blackout—coordinated censorship—about these deaths not being politically relevant or newsworthy. Barbara Smith and the other members of the Combahee River Collective conducted a sustained political theoretical analysis of these women's lives and the social meaning of their deaths (and the only formal investigation worthy of that name) published in two 1979 pamphlets entitled, "Six Black Women: Why Did They Die?" and its updated companion pamphlet [End Page 263] entitled, "Eleven Black Women: Why Did They Die?"18 In 1979, there was a serial killer on the loose in Boston, somebody who probably had a job every day and worked in the civil service, or in some industry, or the private sector, or higher education. Some civilian behaving as a guardian of an anti-Black woman civil society, tortured and killed Black Women because he could. Or perhaps there were multiple serial killers on the loose—or a group. Because the state and society that benefited from these murders and the myths that they propped up did not undertake to view them as an aberration worthy of attention or exploration, the main reason that we know about their existence is because the members of the Combahee River Collective dedicated themselves to bringing attention to these women's lives.
I am arguing that Black Women were murdered sans proper investigation in their time and in our own because the long history of the medical plantation, medical discrimination, scientific experimentation, and medical Jim Crow pre-disposed the U.S. population to view Black Women as everything but objects of human sympathy.19
While best well known for their Black Feminist Statement (1977) that challenged the erasure of racialized gender consciousness from movements that could not have existed without their intersectional approach, the Combahee River Collective theorized about these murders by rooting them in Black Women's positionality in the political order of modernity's slave polity. By slave polity I mean the uniquely modern slave polity that passed slave status on from generation to generation through the line of the mother and that reinforced slave status through normalized breeding of Black Women for sexualized punishment to extend the life of the whitened political order. This slave polity also relied on painful human experimentation on Black Women and their reproductive organs thereby doubly sexualizing the non-consensual extraction of new knowledge and new science on their bodies.
Consideration of the history of violence against Black Women under slavery goes a very long way in helping us understand how we have arrived at the present moment.
After three years of meeting as a collective to clarify their political analysis of the paradigmatic "fissures of race, class, and gender in deindustrializing America" and drawing from a "web of local movements" the Combahee River Collective members wrote passionately about these multiple and interlocking political projects—from polite to coarse—that sought to make them into prey.20 And they reminded the world that they were armed to the teeth just as that Black woman general, Harriet Tubman, a century before them had been. That group of late 20th century women named themselves "The Combahee River Collective" after a late 19th century military battle against the essential paradox of the Americas—the New World's contribution to civilization—the slave polity and freedom negotiated through normalized [End Page 264] and sexualized violence enacted on Black Women's bodies. Such violence produced notions of freedom but also produced and legitimated scientific regimes and forms of medicalization that were associated with extending life for some regardless of the cost for Black Women themselves.
The Motive Force of Institutional Life and Civil Society
In the following I turn to a few nested examples of the conditions that animated the Combahee River Collective's attention to state, vigilante, and interpersonal violence against Black Women. My examples come from a narrowly tailored examination of the history of scientifically applied management21 of sexual violence on the medical plantation during slavery, (The Anarcha Project, 2006/7) and after (Austin Clarke's The Polished Hoe, 2002, and the Black Lives Matter Movement). While The Anarcha Project22 is the definitive historical-artistic case for describing the ideology of the medical plantation and the uses of Black Women's bodies in slavery, scholars of the legacies of slavery as an institution, practice, set of legal codes, and a cultural logic emphatically contend that the "afterlife of slavery"23 and "post slavery subjects"24 continue to provide robust meaning making about the status of Black Women and the continued use of scientifically applied routinized sexualized violence. Such works point to the sublime ghosts haunting the question of the murders of Black Women in custody, today. These examples are relevant because such systematic violence reflects the fundamental relationship between Black Women and the state and the society: whether the perpetrator is known or unknown, an agent of the state, an intimate partner, or the state itself. These histories of continued and systematic abuse against Black Women served as a unifying force and focus of the many different movements that the women in Combahee brought to their writing and advocacy. This history of violence explains their political commitment to a "shared belief that Black Women are inherently valuable, that our liberation is a necessity not as an adjunct to somebody else's" and the revolutionary possibility in such claims.25 Not defenseless. Not easy prey. Not willing to surrender. Their attention to the "healthy love for ourselves, our sisters and our community" that they considered to be the foundational response to the structural forces that stalked them was revolutionary.26
The Combahee River Collective demonstrated that this violence had to be named, remembered, and forcefully rebuked especially in the face of myriad structural causes that enabled and even urged an individual or group of individuals to kill Black Women and allow them to get away with it. These structural causes include myths about Black Women as unrapeable, super-human, unable to feel pain, and how the "possibilities of their wombs…the speculative value of a reproducing [End Page 265] labor force" the wealth for Empire that could be carved out of their wombs, and their capacities for social reproduction are the motive force of institutional life and civil society.27 All reflect the notion that Black Women have been deemed appropriate objects for socialized, communal, and ritualized acts of state-edifying violence. The Combahee River Collective denounced the silence about the Boston serial killer because the silence about these murders in addition to the murders themselves pointed to basic incorporation of the practices and epistemologies of the medical plantation into everyday life.
Mythologies about the imaginary capacities of the "Black body in pain" and "the Black body super-human" are central to the cultural ideologies and norms that undergird racialized medical discrimination and the sexualized violence that extends into civil society and social life through the extermination of Black Women and their reduction to mere use value. In fact, we might even argue that the social reproduction of a whitened civil society, one that continually and progressively secures substantive rights and actual liberties for white and non-Black people, relies heavily on formal and informal practices of sexualized violence against Black Women. Scholars have increasingly turned to the language of the "medical plantation" and its descendant "medical Jim Crow" to explain the proliferation of segregation and coerced medical experimentation in state-funded medical facilities for Black patients. The medical plantation was a type of plantation whose enslaved inhabitants were made available to medical researchers as models for the study of human (that is white and non-Black) biology. Health activists like W. Montague Cobb (1904–1990), head of the NAACP National Health Committee and Editor of the Journal of the National Medical Association organized a major plank of the long civil rights movement focused exclusively on that dimension of the afterlife of slavery that is more commonly known as medical discrimination. It was these health activists who organized with North Carolina medical personnel to successfully challenge segregation in state-funded medical facilities in the 1963 landmark case, Simkins vs. Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital. Like activists in the Black Women's Health Project28 based in Georgia and Florida just a few years later in 1984, central questions of reproduction have to do with whether, when, or if such persons would or could shoulder the weight of themselves, their families, their histories, and their memories in a world in which structural forms of violence (those forms of violence which allegedly have no origins) directed in peculiar and lasting ways at them would never even be named, mentioned, or alluded to except to shame them. These are questions of social reproduction that are basic to Black Women's lives—not the mere making of babies but, the making of black female lives that can be lived or as the collective members explained "which allows us to continue our struggle and work. [End Page 266] 29
Such myths about the black body not being able to experience pain are reproduced as a matter of course, and as an expression of the afterlife of slavery in the Americas. The existence of social structures and slave polities that attempted to inaugurate the New World through emancipation doctrines that enshrined the particular role of Black Women as antithetical and antagonistic to the production of naturalizable or usable citizens has threaded such myths into Western and Eurocentric practices and institutions. In addition to prospecting in the territory of black reproductivity, discrimination against Black people was masked and justified through allegations about Black sexual and gender perversions and a culture that was deemed pathologically non-heteronormative and non-homonormative.30 In fact the project of gender has been an all out war on Black bodies meaning that attempts to even talk about how sexualized and normalized violence marks us into social categories leaves us with categories whose textures and meanings are typically ill-fitting, useless, and that prohibit clear discussion about what happened, who did it, and what that means in relation to other black bodies. Thus, "[m]erely naming the pejorative stereotypes attributed to Black Women (e.g. mammy, matriarch, Sapphire, whore, bulldagger), let alone cataloguing the cruel, often murderous, treatment we receive, indicates how little value has been placed upon our lives during four centuries of bondage in the Western hemisphere."31 Despite their exhaustive advocacy and research we don't know very much of the details of these Boston 1979 cases exactly because these known structures and myths conspire together and with us to make remembrance of the violence against Black Women deadly and allegedly impossible.
Combahee River Collective members pointed to these conditions declaring in their multi-issue and profoundly complex articulation of the term "identity politics":
that the most profound and potentially most radical politics come directly out of our own identity, as opposed to working to end somebody else's oppression…because it is obvious from looking at all the political movements that have preceded us that anyone is more worthy of liberation than ourselves.32
In a subtle though pregnant critique of having served as the literal, symbolic, and psychic engine for countless reiterations of abolitionist democracy with these words they leveled a hard-hitting critique at those structures of violence that lurk within the political projects of alleged allies. This did not mean that they stopped working against all the different forms of structural violence that worked together to enact the world. But, it did mean that they unapologetically evaluated their own position. [End Page 267]
For some, the ontological value of Black Women's bodies—drained of life—is not to be found in their breathing and moving and rejection and survival of such conditions, but rather lies in their reduction to broken flesh, to scientific accounts of how the body responds under this particular stress or that particular strain. For example, this particular killer of Black Women in Boston in the early 1970s, like other killers of Black Women in the same decade, was stalking them without fear of sanction, simply replicating a general social order in which the death of Black Women was not even noteworthy by the larger society. But, for others, also invested in the ontological value of Black Women's bodies, but from a different perspective, the existence of this group of Black and Puerto Rican women who remembered and made explicitly political each and every name of a Black Woman slaughtered—in spite of the terror that this remembering inspired—explains the ontological value of Black Women's bodies. Their practice of remembering and insisting on teaching self-defense in order that Black Women would live suggests that Black Women's bodies had some other meanings altogether, a consciousness unto and about themselves; a consciousness that shores up the "psychic stability of the world."33 The Combahee River Collective and their efforts to seek justice for those murdered women in Boston attested to the ongoing commitment to "the movement against the slave trade, the abolitionist movement, the feminist movement, the labor movement…the need for a unified effort and the value of a vision of a society substantially better than the existing one."34 Their will to name the horror of this violence and to marshal a centuries-long toolkit of organized collective action and militant response by Black Women in the Americas to fight against enduring violence is another ontological fact, an oppositional and revolutionary fact about the meaning of Black Women's bodies that insists on being reckoned with.
These women used the "Black liberation struggle rather than the American Dream as their yardstick, their gauge, their vantage point" and used "working papers as part of their discipline, part of their effort to be clear, analytical, personal, basic: part of their efforts to piece together an…overview of ourselves too long lost among the bills of sale and letters of transit."35 The Combahee River Collective's "A Black Feminist Statement" was a manifesto that provided evidence of a political philosophy and a political vision that foregrounded violence against Black Women and other Women of Color without collusion with the state, policing, or crime panics—or black heteropatriarchy, either. Their political vision also could enunciate "what Blacks have done to and for themselves"36 through movements, campaigns, advocacy, political education, and a long history of militant self-defense. The Collective wrote a manifesto that articulated a politics and a worldview of racialized gender consciousness that had always operated [End Page 268] from within the heart of liberation movements "as central voices in feminist politics in both the women's movement and Black liberation organizations."37 To consider ourselves now in the light of Combahee means to read the militant Black feminist internationalist activists and philosophies of Combahee as the proper context of Black radicalism. That means that a collective such as this was confirming and declaring a multi-generational practice of a Black sexual and gender politics that aimed to render imperialist, classist, masculinist, nationalist, heteropatriachal, and deeply anti-Black racialized gender norms obsolete—or at least to reveal how these norms existed in antagonism with Black Women's revolutionary self-love. Standing in their defiant reminder to the world that:
Above all else, our politics initially sprang from the shared belief that Black women are inherently valuable, that our liberation is a necessity not as an adjunct to somebody else's may because of our need as human persons for autonomy. This may seem so obvious as to sound simplistic, but it is apparent that no other ostensibly progressive movement has ever considered our specific oppression as a priority or worked seriously for the ending of that oppression. Merely naming the pejorative stereotypes attributed to Black women (e.g. mammy, matriarch, Sapphire, whore, bulldagger), let alone cataloguing the cruel, often murderous, treatment we receive, indicates how little value has been placed upon our lives during four centuries of bondage in the Western hemisphere. We realize that the only people who care enough about us to work consistently for our liberation are us. Our politics evolve from a healthy love for ourselves, our sisters and our community which allows us to continue our struggle and work.
This focusing upon our own oppression is embodied in the concept of identity politics. We believe that the most profound and potentially most radical politics come directly out of our own identity, as opposed to working to end somebody else's oppression. In the case of Black women this is a particularly repugnant, dangerous, threatening, and therefore revolutionary concept because it is obvious from looking at all the political movements that have preceded us that anyone is more worthy of liberation than ourselves. We reject pedestals, queenhood, and walking ten paces behind. To be recognized as human, levelly human, is enough.38
The Combahee River Collective's statement allows us to read our own history through the consciousness that they invoked. But it also compels us to consider not only who we are we after Combahee, but what we can learn by studying the conditions that animated them. What could have happened to Black Women on the East Coast in the 1970s to make them remember a militant response to normalized, un-remarked [End Page 269] upon, and yet fabulously ubiquitous and paradigmatic sexualized violence against Black Women? While it might seem systematic and reasonable to document the cases of murder of Black Women happening now as an ethical way to come to understand who murdered Black women in Boston in 1979, and then in Los Angeles from 1983 on, I need to turn our attention and our clocks back to what seems to be the origin of this current decimation—the slavery era's breeding of Black Women for sexualized punishment to extend the life of individual non-black and white people and to extend the life of the whitened social order. Because that is what the medical plantation was about figuring out how to breed enslaved Black women and learning from enslaved Black women how to protect and care for the lives of every other kind of person.
I come to this conversation through questions posed by the collective and their insistence that reproductive justice and reproductive health reflect not merely women's ability to choose whether, when, or if they would bear or rear children but instead the "underlying realities of reproductive lives" which constitute the basis for social reproduction, i.e. the cross-generational status of those who represent wombs carved up for Empire or the status of those hands doing, measuring, and witnessing the carving.39
Such questions of social reproduction and the social world remind me of alleged psychoses like Drapetomania and oppositional defiance disorder (and the pro-slavery social and psychological values) that insist that people in pain experience pain in profoundly individual ways instead of in wholly social ways. I am reminded also of the experience of listening to my 6-year-old son be pathologized as having "super-human strength"40 when adult men fantasize about and project onto him and his brother about how strong they are when playing afterschool program dodgeball—somehow forgetting that they are revealing their own feelings of deficient masculinity in these tellings. Am I to be proud of their alleged super-human strength or frightened at what it portends for their small, small bodies, growing every day in a womb called a social world?
The lauded medical research of the father of gynecology, J. Marion Sims (1813–1883) made the transnational jump; crossing the White Atlantic from South Carolina to France and back again.41 Memorialized in public statuary in multiple countries, the question of what we might call his "relationship" to the bodies of the Black Women he experimented upon, Lucy, Anarcha, and Betsey, is unresolved and unsettled. For those of us for whom "medical apartheid" and "medical plantation" are meaningful historiographical concepts, reading the legacies in contemporary culture of this normalized relationship between the murderous gendering of Black Women, on one hand, and the generative gendering of everyone else, on the other hand, is an important [End Page 270] way to understand who and what J. Marion Sims represents. In other words, what was normal in the mid 19th century was that new medical knowledge was sutured to painful, grotesque, deforming, and even deadly medical experimentation on enslaved women across the Americas that enabled the introduction of new medical technologies that advanced the quality of (white) life. Similarly what is normal in our own time is that new medical knowledge and improved quality of life continues to be sutured to medical experimentation on racialized women who have lost their basic civil rights through mass incarceration and territorial segregation even when they consent.
Weapons Made By Hand: The Anarcha Project (2007/8)—Scene Two Excerpt from To feel no pain and Austin Clarke's The Polished Hoe (2002)
The first time I read the scenes from The Anarcha Project I was given a full throated and immersive language for understanding the legacies of the medical plantation for the custodial state. Through practices of carefully orchestrated and painstakingly documented medical and scientific experimentation, the science of gynecology was born in the monitoring and control over the wombs of enslaved African women. The Anarcha Project was organized, researched, and written by feminists engaged in studies of race, disability, the history of enslaved African women, digital humanities, and science and technology studies. The theatrical launch required staging both a memorial and remembering of the lives of these few women as well as pressing their stories into service for those of us struggling to understand contemporary culture. The theatrical and digital humanities launch created embodied and disembodied spaces for recovery of the history of the intimate science of gynecological medicine. Learning about the lives of Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey in this format enabled me to enter conversations about the way that gendering and ungendering proceeded in plantation life in the Americas—at least in a paradigmatic and archetypal fashion. It also provided me with another vantage point for understanding Austin Clarke's novel, The Polished Hoe—and what it might open up to me as the granddaughter of a woman whose enslavement history led to Barbados. As I shared what I learned about the history of the medical plantation at slavery conferences and at conference panels for the Association for the Study of Black Women in Politics, and the Gender Caucus of the American Political Science Association, and at a day-long training course on abolitionist theory and praxis, and at the Humanist Association of Orange County, as a representative of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles on a panel at Goldenwest Community [End Page 271] College, and at a diversity workshop for graduate student future faculty in the University of California system, I found myself doing some of the most meaningful and important activist scholarship in my life.
I also carried the required stage prop, a bucket that I dubbed "Anarcha's Bucket," with me on airplanes and in the back of my car, and enlisted the help of hotel janitors all over the United States—all of whom became my joyful conspirators after I explained the story that I had to tell—in attempts to secure that prop on the handful of occasions when it had not occurred to me to carry my own bucket with me in my carry-on luggage. Carrying Anarcha's Bucket put me and my body back in to the history that best helps explain the contemporary epidemic of state and vigilante murders of Black Women. Carrying Anarcha's Bucket marked me by the blood being spilled in the ways that they were murdered and the bloodletting that occurred on medical plantations across the Americas to extend life through gynecological science. I was learning about Anarcha and Lucy and Betsey while going through my own misadventures with gynecological changes and diagnoses and trying to help my surgeons and nurses and doctors understand that the many missed appointments and postponements and the army of women I insisted on taking to every appointment—crowding the examining rooms—were a kind of necessary derangement and mourning over everything that those enslaved women had gone through in order for this science to come into fruition. It was almost impossible to explain to doctors the disjunctures of realizing that my body would experience less pain because of what Anarcha, Lucy, Betsey, and the hundreds or thousands of other women who were experimented on in the Americas in medical plantations had undergone—unable to give consent to this project either—and that the actual social position that I occupy is irrevocably tethered to theirs. I let myself go into the deep and most certainly would not have been able to go into the excessive uncharted waters of a theoretical excavation that was to be most certainly bookmarked by the exclusive focus on removal of parts of my own body without meditating on and with what Anarcha, Betsey, and Lucy lost.
Like most people of my generation, positioned as I am, wisdom has dictated that there is no reason to take on any more pain than one is already allotted. When Andreana Clay and Donna Murch and Nicole Fleetwood and Stephanie Batiste write about the 1980s and 1990s and urban life and the bodies that the state breached in the Clinton Crime Bill era42—they are talking about people like me who survived partially by becoming particularly pain-averse. I was well into my adulthood before I ever heard of Re-Evaluation Co-Counseling or Therapy or anything other than clergy directed highly individualized calls to make sense of it, don't dwell in it, and too blessed to be stressed and march through your valley out of it approaches. So, I turned away [End Page 272] from pain and Black pain43 especially except in the most abstract and other-focused ways possible—activism and formal political organizational responses can be one of the greatest tools for suppressing one's own pain by addressing the pain of others if handled just so. To be a Black woman professor and train the next generation and a be "bridge leader" as Belinda Robnett outlines of the women of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee organization and history.44 But, what is to be done with the fact that my embodiment and my physicality is always understood as a sign that pain both is sutured to who I am because anti-blackness requires me to be a signature symbol of pain and that whatever can be done to me and those who share my fate in any of the institutionalized arenas of anti-blackness (whether it be the schoolhouse or the prison or the doctor's office or the bank or the public or the private) is not pain—in the sense of anguish and injury that needs to be remedied or mourned. I connected Austin Clarke's minutiae of plantation surveillance over Black Women's reproduction to the torture of Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey mostly intuitively but also because I lived in the era of Korryn Gaines (1993–2016) and Charleena Lyles (1987–2017) and Shaylene Graves (1989–2016) and thousands of living black trans women refusing to let anyway forget the thousands of murdered black trans women. I came to understand what happened to the women around me in 2014 and 2015 and 2016 and 2017 because the holding it together in the face of all of these people who occupy the same social position as me and who are perceived by the world as I am was not enough. I live in a time of organized response. I live in a time like the one that required pamphlets like Six Black Women Why Did They Die? As the paper lays bare the bones of some broken woman, I had to bring whatever I had learned about the past and the present to the work of Black Lives Matter-Los Angeles and offer something more to the memory of those women and their families and all of us. These two texts compelled me to become a different kind of Black feminist and work toward a healthier love for ourselves, our sisters and our community. So I learned to carry Anarcha's Bucket.
She knows the repetition of the fist on her face, the boot in thegut, the money that she needs, her children need, the roof, the tileof the bathroom floor.And she tells me:I know I should take it.Take it like a woman, rooted in pain.Do not give in to the shame.Rise from the pain.Makes me strong.I know.'Dyaesthesia aethiopis'—black people feel no pain.That's what racist science knew, without shame, [End Page 273] and they use the pain to perpetuate the institution,the corporation, the factory machine of slavery.Black people can work in this heat.They can take malaria, the scratch of the mosquito bite, the bite ofthe whip.The scientists knew, no shame.And knowledge infects, infiltrates, mutates, survives, incorpo-rates, draws the line.Cancerous, white shapeless cells sucking blood.Infection, defection, inflection: the case of pain is declinated,put through its paces, the Latin phrase infecting the rule of theplantation.The slaveholders know no pain, no shame.They knew what to say.They knew that the cotton dress they wore on their Scarlet skinwas made by people, people I say,people who knew no pain, who knew that the fist and the bootknew them, and would know them again.Sims cuttook the cutknowing what they all knew,the public secret of pain: no pain, no shame, and lots of gain.45
In this scene from The Anarcha Project the playwrights punctuate the sound of the recitation with a sound of wringing water in a bucket being rung out through a rag and the sound of multiple women taking their turns reciting stanzas of the poem and thereby staging the scene. Beyond that acoustic variation, the embodied nature of the performance and the fact that multiple people are speaking the stanzas punctures any notion of how such a disease as drapetomania—an imaginary endless tolerance for pain might exist. And yet as a group of people speaking about having this disease because society forces us to bear this incapacity to feel pain, the playwrights suggest the cultural and social operations today and in the past that create the conditions for the misapprehension of pain as not pain. The water flowing—a voice in its own right, through conjuring the Middle Passage and the remembrance of acts of force that Black Women in particular have been compelled to not speak—insists on a aural rupture that reminds hearers of the medical plantation and the will to terrorize that it amplified. It may be that what makes Black Women a shared subjectivity, an entity, a group in the world with a consciousness is having to bear the forms of violence attendant with this imaginary disease of tolerance of endless pain, the collective social repression about the existence of this violence, the "forgeries of memory" that caricature anti-Black Woman violence as a "scene of seduction" or allure, and the determined acknowledgement that the "only people who care enough about us to work consistently for our liberation are us."46 [End Page 274]
In 2012, I began to read The Polished Hoe47 (2002) repetitively, one might even say obsessively, as my way into and out of the spectacle of the murder of Trayvon Martin. I read it probably trying to make Black feminist sense of its relentless accountancy of the practices of domination over the black woman's body in polite society. At the time, I don't think I was connecting it so concretely to Martin's mother's plight. And yet somehow I knew that the same reason that Martin was regarded in Black political discourse as a youth was because he was rendered as a child belonging to parents, his loss was a Black reproductive loss, a mother wound, a father wound, a parent as nurturer wound. A consummately Black and female wound regardless of which of our Black bodies bore it. Rather than thinking about Sybrina Fulton, I was trying to cultivate my own Black feminist common sense that would be able to sustain a long-term warfare with those who blamed Martin for being a murder victim. The novel is about a Black woman's life and how plantation society's obsession with her body and everything that her body symbolized about unbridled white power was dismantled. A story about Black feminist common sense if ever there was one.
Set as a post WWII crime story or mystery surrounding a killer's confession, Austin Clarke's48 The Polished Hoe is also a linguistic journey. Setting the stage, Clarke's provocative title alludes to breeding Black Women to become sexual objects and to become human tools. The fictional protagonist, Mary Mathilda Gertrude Bellfeels, uses her position as both an object of sexual subordination and labor subordination to survive post-slavery Barbados and adds a third dimension of that breeding—her own polished hoe is the tool that she uses to kill the man who bred her. Not prey. Armed and dangerous. She armed herself. Made and designated and bred for human chattelization after slavery, the protagonist becomes a deadly vessel of memory—calling the police herself to explain everything that was done to her and to everyone else in her community to terrorize them sexually and make them available for perpetual abuse—forms of abuse that were marked most notably by being deemed not injuries. When Mary Mathilda Gertrude Bellfeels kills she is working on ending her own oppression and that she is more worthy of liberation than anybody else in a context where no one will work more consistently for [her] liberation than she will.
For readers to understand the making of the killer's weapon and how the killer becomes weaponized, Clarke must unpack a long history of racialized sexual abuse long, long, long after slavery in plantation life in Barbados. Let me be very plain spoken about this, Clarke's crime story revolves around the killer's obsession with a field instrument, a long-handled hoe which becomes her weapon of choice for murdering the overseer who bore three children upon her, one who lived. But, Clarke's crime story also revolves around how the killer herself was made into an instrument of production and reproduction—exploited [End Page 275] but much more than this. Made into the ultimate success story of Black Women enslaved—a woman who negotiates her freedom, Mary Mathilda is still a man-made woman, bred into a social caste of distinction, authority, and status, but also the ultimate foil of anything calling itself post-emancipation freedom. Austin Clarke's Mary Mathilda Gertrude Bellfeels had a cause to bury and spill the blood of the overseer Mr. Bellfeels. We, too, have cause. And we know it.
With scientific precision and data mining that would impress the most aggressive contemporary big data scientists, Mr. Bellfeels monitored young Mary Mathilda's bodily transition from child to maiden to kept woman. He surveyed her body from his first recognition of her. At six on a bright Sunday morning wearing her good church clothes, he used his riding crop to measure her child body in a public space in the sight of her mother when he first met her. Striding across her body and making plain to her young girl self that her flesh was as alienable and tradeable as a piece of land or silk that he could run through his fingers in anticipation of the future wealth that she would produce, novelist Austin Clarke reminds us of this scene again and again. Scenes of making a slave polity, like the others littering the shores of the Western Hemisphere.
But there are other scenes as well, a closing one in which Mary Mathilda is leading the sergeant who she has reported her crime to through an underground tunnel beneath her house. As a kept woman of the manager of the Bellfeels estate, she was groomed, as her mother and as her grandmother before her, from her earliest days to become a sexual object for the plantation manager and the rest of them at "PumPum time! Driver time. Overseer time. Bookkeeper time. Assistant Manager time. Manager time. White man time."49 She was bred to be someone who could feel no pain and who would always be available to receive any white man's urges. Leading the sergeant through this dank underground passageway Clarke in the most heavy-handed way possible reminds us of the beatings and castrations and sexual terror that was post WWII Bimshire, the author's made up name for Barbados. Mary Mathilda uses the tunnel walk to retell the stories that populated her young childhood, memories that enabled her to understand the people walking through her community deformed forever for having taken a glance at one of Mr. Bellfeels' women.
There is much of the gothic and the gory in these stories about the underground history upon which this text and place is grounded. Stories that staged generations ago that yet sound so much like the present to those of us living in the same categories of bodies. Underneath the surface are also stories about Germans spirited away during WWII through this passageway that led to the ocean. Mary-Mathilda explains to the sergeant, her confessor, that the British passed them by over and [End Page 276] over and over again stopping only to take on fresh water while they traveled to carry food to other whiter parts of the empire resulting in massive starvation on the fictional island of Bimshire.
The literature on the medical plantation helps us understand more about how everyday best practices of good policing, for instance, and the deference to their exacting role in the ideological structural apparatuses of sheer violence, brute force, and technological innovation operate. What other set of logics can better help us explain the rubrics that designated referring to murdered Black Women and men in the age of serial killers in Los Angeles (just a few years after the Boston murders) as "NHI: No Human Involved" as good policing. While thinking people avoid viewing the resulting medicalization and the criminalization of certain forms of healing fistula and other reproductive disorders through a strict binary the medical plantation and its contemporary social forms and practices captures powerfully the meanings that individuals and families and communities attach to the gratuitous violence of the medical and pharmaceutical industries and their arteries diffused throughout the institutions of society.
Lest we imagine that the contemporary practice of Black Women feeling compelled to call the police during police stops exists without historical precedent, we must continue to plumb the history of the relationship that has made Black women's rebellion such a necessary motive force for history. Medical research and medical science continue to be a critical point of social mediation between the body and the political. This is not merely about gaining access to civil society and becoming representable on the national stage; it is about reckoning with slave status and freedom marching through Black Women's wombs and the social lives that their wombs represent. It is the place where medicine and law collide and where slave (ontologically/civically/socially dead) and free (ontologically/civically/socially alive) are born. In our own day, new technologies that advance the quality of (white) life—must be understood as benefits for those who are legible as socially and juridically alive while those same new technologies require the sacrifice of always already expendable Black bodies whose status as civil subjects and as humans has been revoked/denied/made contingent. To not be prey may mean the certain destruction of everything that holds up and legitimates "within policy" decisions about today's murders in custody. [End Page 277]
This paper received the 2017 Association for the Study of Black Women in Politics Mae C. King Distinguished Paper Award for the best paper presented by a political scientist on women, gender, and Black politics at a national or regional political science conference during an academic year.
Tiffany Willoughby-Herard is an Associate Professor, African American Studies, University of California, Irvine, and Visiting Faculty Researcher, Institute for Gender Studies, University of South Africa. She researches black thought transnationally, the material conditions of knowledge production, and race, gender, and sexualities. She is the author of Waste of a White Skin: The Carnegie Corporation and the Racial Logic of White Vulnerability and numerous other publications, and managing editor of the National Political Science Review. She is a member of the LGBTQ Caucus of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists, the President of the LGBTQ Caucus of the American Political Science Association. Tiffany's email address is email@example.com
1. Toni Morrison, Jazz (New York: Plume, 1992) 74–75, 77–78.
2. African American Policy Forum and Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies, "Say her name: resisting police brutality against Black women," July 2015, available at http://static1.squarespace.com/static/53f20d90e4b0b80451158d8c/t/560c068ee-4b0af26f72741df/1443628686535/AAPF_SMN_Brief_Full_singles-min.pdf [Accessed August 15, 2016].
3. See Gary Belcher, "Gates Raps 2 Officials for Remarks on Killer Inquiry" in Los Angeles Times, August 2, 1986, available at http://articles.latimes.com/1986–08–02/local/me-1049_1_serial-killer [n.d.]. Since the conviction of the man identified as committing several of the murders as well as his part in the beating and torture of nearly 100 Black Women in total and several documentaries on the so-called "Grim Sleeper," the Los Angeles Times has produced an archive of their own reporting. See "Black Coalition Fighting Back Serial Murders" in Los Angeles Times, available at http://articles.latimes.com/keyword/black-coalition-fighting-back-serial-murders [Accessed August 17, 2016]. See Nick Broomfield, Tales of the Grim Sleeper (HBO Films, 2014).
4. Tina Burnisde and Joshua Berlinger, "Trooper Who Arrested Sandra Bland Formally Fired" in CNN.com, March 3, 2016, available at http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/03/us/sandra-bland-officer-fired/ [Accessed August 17, 2016].
5. Qtd. in Collier Meyerson, "Read the short, devastating speech Sandra Bland's mother just made to Congressional leaders" in Fusion, April 28, 2016, available at http://fusion.net/story/296456/sandra-bland-mother-powerful-speech [Accessed August 17, 2016].
6. Jasmyne Cannick, "One Month Later, Mother of Wakiesha Wilson Reduced to Begging for Answers" in JasmyneCannick.com, April 26, 2016, available at http://www.jasmyneacannick.com/blog/one-month-later-mother-ofwakiesha-wilson-reduced-to-begging-for-answers [Accessed August 17, 2016].
7. Kate Mather, James Queally, and Ruben Vives, "Amid protests, panel finds that LAPD did not violate deadly force rules in shooting of black woman in South L.A." in Los Angeles Times, July 12, 2016, available at http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-lapd-shooting-redel-jones-20160712-snap-story.html [n.d.].
8. Sheri M. Graves, mother of Shaylene Graves, "Another Alleged Inmate 'Suicide'; Mother of Shaylene Graves: 'Only six weeks remained in her eight-year sentence" in Los Angeles Sentinel, June 15, 2016, available at [End Page 278] https://lasentinel.net/another-alleged-inmate-suicide-mother-of-shaylene-graves-only-six-weeks-remained-in-her-eight-year-sentence.html [Accessed August 17, 2016].
10. Victoria Law, "'A Girl Hung Herself Yesterday': Deaths in Custody at California Institution for Women" in Solitary Watch, November 5, 2014, available at http://solitarywatch.com/2014/11/05/a-girl-hung-herself-yesterday-deaths-at-california-institution-for-women/ [Accessed August 17, 2016].
11. Miguel Olvera, "Suggestions of Civility Promote Campus Censorship" in New University, May 24, 2016, available at http://www.newuniversity.org/2016/05/opinion/suggestions-of-civility-promote-campus-censorship/ [Accessed August 19, 2016].
12. Hartman, Scenes of Subjection.
13. Nelson, Body and Soul 25.
14. Veronica Graves, "Video Shows Houston Officer Attack Woman at Traffic Stop Who Called 911 Because She Feared Him" in The Root, August 4, 2016, available at http://www.theroot.com/articles/news/2016/08/woman-fears-houston-cop-at-traffic-stop-and-calls-911-new-video-shows-officer-attack-woman/ [Accessed August 4, 2016].
15. Beth Richie, Arrested justice: Black women, violence, and America's prison nation. (New York: New York University Press, 2012).
16. Kenyon Farrow, Opening Plenary: Black Politics at an Intersection: Challenging Persistent Inequities, 48th Annual National Conference of Black Political Scientists in San Diego (March 16, 2017).
17. Alondra Nelson, Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight Against Medical Discrimination (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2011) 25. See also Nancy Krieger, Jarvis T. Chen, Pamela D. Waterman, Mathew V. Kiang, and Justin Feldman, "Police Killings and Police Deaths Are Public Health Data and Can Be Counted" in PLoS Med Volume 12, Number 12 (December 8, 2015), available at http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1001915 [Accessed February 1, 2016].
18. Combahee River Collective, "Six Black Women: Why Did They Die?" and "Eleven Black Women: Why Did They Die?" Pamphlets (1979). See also "Black Feminism in Boston: The Struggle for Control of Production," a special issue of Radical America Volume 13, Number 6 (1979), available at http://library.brown.edu/pdfs/1124979008226934.pdf [Accessed August 29, 2016].
See Terrion L. Williamson, "Who is Killing Us?" in The Feminist Wire, January 18, 2012, available at http://www.thefeministwire.com/2012/01/who-is-killing-us/ [End Page 279]
[Accessed August 17, 2016]; Bettye Collier-Thomas and V.P. Franklin, Sisters in the Struggle: African Amerian Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement (New York: New York University Press, 2001) 299; and Barbara Smith, "Six Black Women: How Did They Die?" in Aegis: Magazine on Ending Violence Against Women (1979) 29–31.
19. See Jael Silliman, Marlene Gerber Fried, Loretta Ross, and Elena Gutierrez, Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice (Boston: South End Press, 2004). Combahee River Collective, "A Black Feminist Statement." Home Girls, A Black Feminist Anthology, Barbara Smith ed. (New York: Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, Inc., 1983), available at http://circuitous.org/scraps/combahee.html [Accessed August 14, 2016].
20. Dayo Gore, Jeanne Theoharis, and Komozi Woodard, Want to Start a Revolution? Radical Black Women in the Freedom Struggle (New York: New York University Press, 2009) 10.
21. Scott Berinato and Caitlin Rosenthal, "Plantations Practiced Modern Management," Harvard Business School Publication (2013) 30–31.
22. Petra Kuppers, Anita Gonzalez, Carrie Sandahl, Tiye Giraud, and Aimee Meredith Cox, The Anarcha Project: Sims and the Medical Plantation," Performance Project (2006/7), available at http://www-personal.umich.edu/~petra/anarcha.htm [Accessed January 5, 2016].
23. Saidiya Hartman, Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1997).
24. Jennifer L. Morgan, Laboring Women: Reproduction and Gender in New World Slavery. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004); Pumla Dineo Gqola, What Is Slavery to Me? Postcolonial/Slave Memory in Post-Apartheid South Africa (Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2010); Christina Sharpe, Monstrous Intimacies: Making Post-Slavery Subjects (Durham: Duke University Press, 2010).
25. Combahee River Collective, "A Black Feminist Statement".
27. Morgan, Laboring Women 3.
28. Silliman et al., Undivided Rights 2004.
29. Combahee River Collective, "A Black Feminist Statement".
30. Greg Thomas, Sexual Demon of Colonial Power: Pan African Embodiment and Erotic Schemes of Empire (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007); Roderick Ferguson, Aberrations in Black: Toward a Queer of Color Critique (Minneappolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2004) 20–21.
31. Combahee River Collective, "A Black Feminist Statement".
33. Attributed to Frank Wilderson, this phrase became ubiquitous in 2016 when the Black Student Demands Team at University of California, Irvine used it as a tagline on its nationally-circulated petition and clothing. Such a claim is a hard-won expression of black internationalist consciousness and a rejection of American Exceptionalism for post-9/11 generation students. The intensification of Americanization programs in K-16 education in the last fifteen years has included Constitution Day among [End Page 280] other nationally prescribed declarations of fidelity and national piety to a man-made polity. See "The UC Irvine Black Student Union Demands to Abolish the Police!," UC Irvine Black Student Union Demands, January 25, 2016, available at https://www.change.org/p/howard-gillman-uc-irvine-administration-university-of-california-uc-irvine-demands-to-abolish-the-police [Accessed August 17, 2016].
34. Toni Cade Bambara, The Black Woman: An Anthology (New York: Washington Square Press, 1970 ) 3.
35. Ibid. 4–5
36. Ibid. 2.
37. Gore et al, Want to Start a Revolution? 10.
38. Combahee River Collective, "A Black Feminist Statement".
40. Adam Waytz, Kelly Marie Hoffman, and Sophie Trawalter. "A superhumanization Bias in Whites' Perceptions of Blacks" in Social Psychological and Personality Science Volume 6, Number 3 (2015). See also Frederica Boswell, with contributions by Amruta Trivedi, "In Darren Wilson's Testimony, Familiar Themes About Black Men" in Code Switch: Race and Identity Remixed, National Public Radio, November 26, 2014, available at http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2014/11/26/366788918/in-darren-wilsons-testimony-familiar-themes-about-black-men [Accessed August 16, 2016].
41. Harriet Washington, Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Anchor Books, 2007).
42. Donna Murch, "Crack in Los Angeles: Crisis, Militarization, and Black Response to the Late Twentieth-Century War on Drugs" in The Journal of American History Volume 102, Number 1 (2015) 162–173; Andreana Clay, "'Kick in the Bass': Sonic Navigation of Pleasure and Pain in Crack Lyrics," paper presented on the panel "High on Crack: Surveillance, Loss and Addiction in Black Communities" at the 2014 annual meeting of the American Studies Association in Los Angeles, themed "The Fun and the Fury: New Dialectics of Pleasure and Pain In the Post-American Century"; and Stephanie Batiste, Stacks of Obits: A Performance Piece" in Women and Performance: a Journal of Feminist Theory Volume 15, Number 1 (2005) 105–125.
43. See Terrie Williams, Black Pain: It Just Looks Like We're Not Hurting (New York: Scribner, 2008).
44. Belinda Robnett, How long? How long? African-American Women in the Struggle for Civil Rights (Oxford University Press, 1997).
45. Kuppers et al., The Anarcha Project.
46. Combahee River Collective, "A Black Feminist Statement".
47. Austin Clarke, The Polished Hoe (New York: Amistad Press, 2003).
48. Clarke is a Canadian novelist, journalist, professor, cultural attaché to the Barbados embassy in Washington, DC, manager of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation in Barbados, and a writer in residence.
49. Ibid. 366. [End Page 281]