This application builds upon preliminary studies that show American slave children had extraordinarily poor health, as measured by their remarkably small stature and high mortality rates. The application develops expanded databases to measure slave health and compare it with contemporary and modern populations;measure the impact on slave health of economic variables and a proxy for exposure to malaria and other diseases whose incidence is sensitive to rainfall;measure the survival rates of black and white children following emancipation;test the hypothesis that severe early childhood deprivation under slavery limited the socioeconomic accomplishments of these children as free adults. The effort creates several new datasets for public use, which will advance future research in the area. The study provides a laboratory for investigating the consequences of early childhood deprivation that was extreme by modern standards, and therefore sheds light on the importance of good child health for socioeconomic achievement.
The application is directly relevant to the mission of the National Institutes of Health by (a) creating several new databases to measure the health of African Americans;(b) bringing new methodologies to bear on the study of child health as assessed by physical growth;(c) studying the socioeconomic implications of extraordinarily poor health of children when they became adults.