Enslaved women working as domestic servants in Southern plantations were taken from their families and forced to nurse white babies while their own infants subsisted on sugar water. They were not voluntary members of the enslaver’s family; they were women laboring under coercion and the constant fear of physical and sexual violence. They had no enforceable authority over their white charges and could not even resist the sale and exploitation of their own children. Domestic servants often were not grandmotherly types but teenagers or very young women. It was white supremacist imaginations that remembered these powerless, coerced slave girls as soothing, comfortable, consenting women.
Melissa V. Harris-Perry, Sister Citizen
This reminded me of that picture of a slave woman breastfeeding a white baby that was circulation a little while ago.