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AfriGeneas Health and Wellness Forum

not enough of the right nutrients

a comment & 2 related links.

Lately, while doing research
I've been going through loads of ancestral death
certificates, ranging during the 1800 & 1900.

I'm seeing some of the same old culprits for ailments in the african american community...
such as cancer, diabetes, strokes, alcoholism,
childbirth, stds, meningitis, infant deaths, lots of violence,
work hazards, drownings, fires, & accidental deaths.

Some of My Ancestors also had bouts with viral outbreaks wiping out 5-10 family members in a single year.

- but a new unexpected thing that I've seen lately is pellagra listed on death certificates
- Because of chronic insufficient (dietary) intake or absorption of niacin/ b3.

It's such an irony. African Americans, some of those that were enslaved _ and often those who farmed & sharecropped for a living way into the mid 1900's were dying from pellagra related illnesses. -t.b.


here's an article

The Slave Diet Low in Niacin Causes Pellagra Disease

Besides being likely vitamin deficient, the slave diet was obviously crude, coarse, and boring. As Frederick Douglass commented: "Not to give a slave enough to eat, is regarded as the most aggravated development of meanness even among slaveholders. The rule is, no matter how coarse the food, only let there be enough of it." Victoria McMullen remembered her slave grandmother described the average slave's diet this way:
"But the other slaves didn't git nothing but fat meat and corn bread and molasses. And they got tired of that same old thing. They wanted something else sometimes." Mary Reynolds recalled during slavery days what she was fed: "Mostly we ate pickled pork and corn bread and peas and beans and ' taters . They never was as much as we needed." Although monotonous, this diet showed her master at least gave more than just the stereotypical "hog and hoecake" diet. As Olmsted observed: "The food is everywhere, however, coarse, crude, and wanting in variety; much more so than that of our [Northern] prison convicts .

the article continues here

here's a partial listing of pellagra & other deaths in South Carolina from the Colored Asylum Cemetery.

18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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