From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Vital Statistics: Emancipation, Medical Field, & Race Extinction

(start date: 1869) 

Following the Civil War, it was again predicted that the effects of emancipating slaves in the United States would result in the extinction of the race. A report was given at the State Medical Society of Kentucky in 1869 on the reproductive capacity of women and how physical labor increased reproduction.

Statistics from the southern states compared the number of African American children born during slavery to the decreased rate after slavery. It was also suggested that there was an infant mortality rate of 50% within the first year of all live births among African Americans.

Immorality was thought to be the cause of the decreased birth rate and sterility. The matter was such a serious concern that it was one of the reasons the State Medical Society of Kentucky presented a petition to the Kentucky Legislature to re-enact the law requiring the registration of births, marriages, and deaths.

For more see "The probable effect of emancipation in producing the ultimate extinction of the black race in America is foreshadowed ...," Weekly Georgia Telegraph, 10/22/1869, issue 15, col E; "Vital Statistics," Medical and Surgical Reporter, 1869, vol. 20, p. 194 [available full-text at Google Books]; R. R. Hogan's Kentucky Ancestry; and An American Health Dilemma, by W. M. Byrd and L. A. Clayton.


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Weekly Georgia telegraph (newspaper)
NKAA Source: Kentucky ancestry : a guide to genealogical and historical research
NKAA Source: An American health dilemma
NKAA Source: The Medical and surgical reporter (periodical)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Vital Statistics: Emancipation, Medical Field, & Race Extinction,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed September 29, 2020,

Last modified: 2020-09-09 18:50:35