Slavery's effects live on

As of the 1860 census, the last before the American Civil War, 2.3 million slaves lived in the Lower Southern states—nearly 50 percent of the entire Lower Southern population at that time. The numbers for the Upper South didn’t fare much better, with 1.2 million slaves, about a third of the population. All told, Southern and Border States totaled four million slaves, or half the population of today’s New York City. 

These mind-boggling numbers reveal the tremendous effect of slavery on the African population in the 19th century. Slavery continues to effect today’s African American population, as Dr. Patricia Newton’s presentation for African-American Heritage month on Post-Traumatic Slavery Disorder will attest.

Newton wants to explore the long-term effects of the chattel slavery experience on African populations. Chattel, as defined on, is “another form of cattle; any item of movable or immovable property except the freehold.” 

While Post-Traumatic Slavery Disorder may be a new term to many of us, Newton is an expert on the topic and makes an interesting case for the correlation between the Disorder and emerging patterns in African-American life.

With control groups in the Caribbean and the North American continent, Newton explores clinical case histories and makes comparisons between the trauma experienced by Africans forced into the United States and slavery, Jewish Holocaust victims, and veterans of the Gulf and Vietnam wars. In addition, neurological data relative to the effect of trauma on the brain, psyche, and body will also be explored. Identification of the problems and suggestions for healing will be discussed in an attempt to clarify the direction that African-Americans must take in the 21st century.

Newton’s speech is a prestigious one during African-American Heritage Month and investigates an important and timely topic. But slavery in its many forms occurs around the world each day, and must be recognized and fought against year round. 


Dr. Patricia Newton will present on Post-Traumatic Slavery Disorder on Tuesday, February 19 at 7pm at UVA’s Clark Hall, Room 147.  The event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Office of African-American Affairs.  Please call La Tasha Levy at 924-7923 for more information.