"I raised all of them and I reckon I can raise one more"
Black slave with white infant in her arms
Public DomainBlack slave with white infant in her arms - Credit: New York Public Library Digital Collection
African American woman holding a white child c.1855
Public DomainAfrican American woman holding a white child c.1855 - Credit: Library of Congress

In the Deep South, the outsourcing of child-rearing to black servants was the norm, at least for the elite.  This practice derives from the time of slavery when black female house-slaves were accorded maternal responsibilities. Faulkner highlights the damaging effect this system could have on familial relationships in Quentin’s despairing lamentation, “if I’d just had a mother so I could say Mother Mother”.