College of Science and Engineering


Applied Mathematics

Faculty Mentor

Elise Murowchick, PhD

Faculty Editor

Elise Murowchick, PhD

Student Editor

Brigid Conroy


The global maternal mortality rate (MMR) has been trending downward, while the US MMR has been increasing. When the US MMR data is disaggregated by race, it becomes apparent that the burden of the MMR is carried by Black mamas. Controlling images of Black women were created during chattel slavery to justify the control and exploitation of their bodies for profit and power. These stereotypes persist to this day in the collective social consciousness, and these racist, classist images have permeated the interactions Black mamas have with others. This paper contextualizes the racial disparity by grounding itself in the role of the physician during chattel slavery and the orientation of physicians towards enslaved African mothers. This analysis will connect this legacy to the barriers and birth outcomes Black mamas have today and discuss community-based solutions that cultivate positive birth outcomes for Black mamas and babies.