“Surffring and Bleeding As Though You Was Killing Hogs”: Mass Incarceration and Black Women’s Health

photo of Talitha LeFlouria
Talitha LeFlouria, Lisa Smith Discovery Associate Professor in African and African-American Studies, University of Virginia
Event Date: 
March 19, 2019
Event Time: 
4:00pm to 5:30pm
2239 Lane Hall
Event Accessibility : 
Ramp and elevator access at the E. Washington Street entrance (by loading dock). Accessible restrooms and a gender neutral restroom are available on the south end of Lane Hall, 1st floor.
photo of Talitha LeFlouria

In 1911, Mary Dykes was tried for vagrancy and sentenced to twelve months hard labor on a Georgia chain gang. A few months later she “became insane” and “unable to work.” In 2016, Sherry Richburg’s leg was amputated after a prison physician denied her access to antibiotics. Mary and Sherry exemplify the historical abuses of the prison health care system and its mistreatment of black female patients. The medical lives of black women in America's jails and prisons is the focus of this presentation.


Talitha LeFlouria is the Lisa Smith Discovery Associate Professor in African and African-American Studies at the University of Virginia and an Andrew Carnegie Fellow. She is a scholar of African American history, specializing in mass incarceration; modern slavery; and black women in America. She is the author of Chained in Silence: Black Women and Convict Labor in the New South (UNC Press, 2015). This book received several national awards including: the Darlene Clark Hine Award from the Organization of American Historians (2016), the Philip Taft Labor History Award from the Cornell University School of Industrial and Labor Relations & Labor and Working-Class History Association (2016), the Malcolm Bell, Jr. and Muriel Barrow Bell Award from the Georgia Historical Society (2016), the Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Prize from the Association of Black Women Historians (2015), and the Ida B. Wells Tribute Award from the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (2015). Her work has been featured in the Sundance nominated documentary, Slavery by Another Name, as well as C-SPAN and Left of Black. Her written work and expertise have been profiled in The Atlantic, Washington Post, Ms. Magazine, The Nation, Huffington Post, For Harriet, and several syndicated radio programs.

Professor LeFlouria is the co-director of the Public Voices Fellowship Program at the University of Virginia. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Historians Against Slavery and on the editorial board of the Georgia Historical Quarterly and International Labor and Working-Class History journal.

Presented by IRWG's Black Feminist Health Studies program.