Race, Mental Illness, and the Civil War Era

This week’s discussion topic deals with race and Civil War era mental health issues. My topic is suicide in the 19th century and one of my sources is this text that I purchased from Amazon. It is well written without a bunch of technical jargon and covers many different topics faced by Civil War era Southerners, both during the war and in the aftermath. Dr. Sommerville addresses suicides from all social classes and Chapters 3 and 4 deal exclusively with “African American Southerners in Slavery and Freedom” (pages 85-147). There is a great deal of information, with individual case studies, but the one fact that stood out was that: “The enslaved who tasted freedom appear to have been most susceptible to thoughts of suicide.” (pg. 105)

Diane Miller Sommerville. 2018. Aberration of Mind Suicide and Suffering in the Civil War- Era South. Chapel Hill The University Of North Carolina Press.