There is a considerable body of literature that documents the higher infant mortality among American Blacks. This disparity has been attributed to many socioeconomic factors such as poor pre-and postnatal maternal health care, poor nutrition, inadequate housing, and so forth. Yet a careful examination of the data reveals that infant mortality is higher for Blacks regardless of socioeconomic condition. The present paper explores possible roots of this higher mortality rate in the centuries of nutritional deprivation suffered by Blacks in America. If a sizeable fraction of the higher Black rates is a result of historical forces, it is questionable if traditional social welfare approaches and programs will markedly improve the situation. Indeed, a new set of interventions are called for to attack the picture of inequality and injustice that emerges from current U.S. infant mortality figures.

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