Date of Award

Spring 7-18-2023

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of arts (BA)


Global Honors

First Advisor

Carolyn West


Throughout history, Black women have been treated as less than human in a variety of traumatic ways for generations, all of which have negatively affected the physical and emotional well-being of free and enslaved Black women. This consisted of being victims of medical abuse, sexual abuse, degrading stereotypes, and the right to easily access basic human needs such as quality healthcare. Current research has shown that within the United States, Black women have the highest rate of maternal mortality than any other ethnicity of women especially when compared to white women. Being that 84% of these maternal deaths are preventable, I argue that past experiences such as medical racism, sexual exploitation, racial segregation, and controlling images that stem from both slavery and the Jim Crow era are responsible for these disproportionate rates today. The purpose of this paper is not only to take us back in time to the darkest moments in history, but I also provide suggestions and solutions as to how this issue can be resolved so that Black women can be better supported in the future in terms of their wellbeing and health.