© 2009

Black Woman’s Burden

Commodifying Black Reproduction

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xii
  2. Why Black Reproduction?

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Nicole Rousseau
      Pages 3-11
    3. Nicole Rousseau
      Pages 13-29
    4. Nicole Rousseau
      Pages 31-41
    5. Nicole Rousseau
      Pages 43-52
  3. Slavery Matters!

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 55-55
    2. Nicole Rousseau
      Pages 57-67
    3. Nicole Rousseau
      Pages 69-75
  4. Emancipated… Not Liberated

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 87-87
    2. Nicole Rousseau
      Pages 89-92
    3. Nicole Rousseau
      Pages 93-102
  5. A Brand New Day

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 115-115
    2. Nicole Rousseau
      Pages 117-121
    3. Nicole Rousseau
      Pages 123-130
    4. Nicole Rousseau
      Pages 137-140

About this book


Black Woman's Burden examines the historical endeavors to regulate Black female sexuality and reproduction in the United States through methods of exploitation, control, repression, and coercion. The myth of the "angry Black woman" has been built over generations through clever rhetoric and oppressive social policy. Here, Rousseau explores the continued impact of labeling and stereotyping on the development of policies that lead to the construction of national, racial, and gender identities for Black women.


female sex liberty methods USA women

About the authors

NICOLE ROUSSEAU is assistant professor in the department of Sociology at Kent State University, USA.

Bibliographic information


"A well researched, well written, and historically imperative work that adds racial, political, and economic context to the issue of reproductive rights. Black Woman s Burden will likely inform future reproductive rights research in considering the relevance of social rhetoric, and political and economic climates in the examination of women s experiences." - Journal of African American Studies"Rousseau engages the reader on topics that are clearly related to women s reproductive rights, in general, and the impact of the political and economic policies relating to reproduction, Latinas and black women in particular." - Contemporary Sociology

"Black Woman s Burden is a book that should be read by everyone who believes in human rights. It is that rare book that marries political economy with the reproductive rights of an oppressed class. Once more we see in her brilliant work that the personal experiences have political and historical antecedents. Despite the fact that black women are the most dedicated, educated, and stable members of the black community, they remain the most devalued and stigmatized group among the panorama of sub-groups in the United States. This book explores how a predatory political and economic system operates to deprive her of control over her body, a condition that has existed since her introduction to the new world. This book is worth our reading and, more importantly, needs our action to redress these acts of oppression that remain a fundamental part of her life." - Robert Staples, Emeritus Professor, Graduate Program in Sociology, University of California, San Francisco

"Nicole Rousseau brings a powerful critical lens to a topic frequently ignored, except as a problem rooted in bad behavior: Black Women s reproduction. In Black Woman s Burden, Professor Rousseau deploys a cogent historical materialist analysis to Black women s sexual and reproductive histories. Centrally, her point of departure is political economic, articulating Black women s historical relations with the capitalist state. Herein is rooted, she argues, the regulation of Black women s reproduction and resistance to such regulation. Rousseau makes quite a compelling case." - Rose M. Brewer, Professor of African American & African Studies, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities