NYU Black Renaissance Noire Winter 2014 - Page 98

Brenda Marie Osbey Note to Clyde Taylor A lump of raw sugar mixed with butter and wrapped in plain kerchief was the standard daily fare of enslaved infants and children on Louisiana sugar plantations whose mothers were employed either as mammies to the slaveholders’ infants, or else set to labor in the canefields, or even inside the city of New Orleans, and thus were unavailable to breastfeed their own. It was aptly called tette-a-suc’ — sugar tit. Though sometimes offered by older women past lactating, more often this was the job of girls as young as four or five. Not only were infants and children thus consistently fed a diet of no imaginable nutritive value; at a very young age, girl-children were suckered, as it were, into a false belief that they were providing sustenance, and simultaneously made com Ɩ6