Women and the Slave Trade and
The Legacy of Trauma
Organized by Meredith Darcy of Section III: Women, Gender, & Psychoanalysis
A group of enslaved women and a man sit on the steps of the Florida Club in St. Augustine, Florida, mid-19th century. A white woman, possibly a manager or overseer, stands behind them.Hulton Archive/Getty Images
In psychoanalysis, the past is continually affecting our present and our future. Awareness about what is not being spoken about is a key to understanding areas of the past we have overlooked. Let’s start the conversation about the complicated historical relationship of women of color and white women, examining the intergenerational trauma of the oppressed and the oppressors.
Women and the slave trade: many were brought here by force and bought at slave markets, while others bought and sold fellow human beings securing patterns of ownership and capital. We ask, what was the unique racial and gendered experience of women during the slavey era in the Americas? Investigating the experiences of Black women, this presentation will ask about the ways they navigated their subjective position: how their positionality left them vulnerable to suffering through systematic rape, the separation of families, the forced removal of their agency, and power over their own bodies. In the same environment, white women were empowered to find agency through the ownership of Black men, women and children. In this discussion we will look at the Black woman's inhumane treatment by a system in which white women benefited and the lasting effects of this on our society. As we unpack the intergenerational trauma and soul murder that developed in this period, we will explore the ways the slavery era had impacts on the psyche through understanding women’s unique experiences.
Presenters - Daseta Gray and Reeshemah Brightley:
Daseta Gray has a passion for teaching, more specifically education. She has been in the field of early childhood education for over 25 years. In 2011 she started her consulting business, Sabree Education Services. She is a certified Infant Toddler Specialist working with caregivers to help them understand that the first three years are critical for brain development. She facilitates Baby and Wee™ classes which focus on getting babies ready for school, by giving them social, emotional and cognitive skills that are needed for school. She is a Psychoanalyst PhD candidate at the Harlem Family Institute; she sees the link between history and mental health and a way to help families and childcare providers make the connection to be more intentional.
Reeshemah Brightley is an Entrepreneur, Consultant, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategist (DEI), and Educator. She was involved in helping to create The Harlem Playspace and Learning Center, the first Playspace in Harlem for families with newborns to three-year-olds. She has a Baccalaureate of Arts degree in Spanish & Hispanic Studies from Hobart & William Smith Colleges, and a Master of Arts degree in Early Childhood Education. She is currently an early childhood consultant focused on supporting families with infants and toddlers. She is the co-founder and CEO of Urban Kids Journeys, a non-profit organization providing experiences for families with the focus of brain development and the power of play to historically underrepresented families.
Moderator - Naomi Snider:
Naomi Snider is a psychoanalyst practicing in NYC. She lectures and publishes on the intersections of social injustice and psychological struggle. Her published works include the 2018 book Why Does Patriarchy Persist? Co-authored with Carol Gilligan. Prior to becoming a psychoanalyst Naomi was a lawyer working in the human rights field. Naomi Snider holds Bachelor of Laws from the London School of Economics and a Master of Laws from NYU and is a graduate of the William Alanson White Institute’s Certificate Program in Psychoanalysis.