POPSUGAR: What attracted you to scholarship on Black motherhood?
Margarita Rosa: I've always been interested in the ways that, through experiences of subjugation and exploitation, Black and Indigenous women have insisted on mothering their children, even when these children were taken from them — even when these children were sold away. So, I love to think about the ways that Black women have creatively sought to "mother" their children and how that history can inform a new radical politics about what it means to parent a child in the present day.
Black feminists have been writing about Black motherhood since the '70s, and I was attracted to the idea of finding "traces" of women in the archives. I have found newspaper clippings of enslaved women who killed their children in order to save them from slavery. I have also found clippings of women who were sent out by masters to be prostitutes. Being a scholar of Black motherhood is like finding new worlds no one ever thought could be there and bringing them back to life.