As a twin, I could not help but to be attracted to this story, and as I studied their life in preparation for writing this article it wouldn’t take long for me to see the red flags. From the media perspective, you’d think the quads and their families were rich, with a house on 150-acres of land and the live-in nurse and all. However, like I said, there were red flags, starting with their names. I introduce to you The Fultz Sisters:
Mary Louise, Mary Ann, Mary Alice and Mary Catherine were born on May 23, 1946, at Annie Penn hospital in North Carolina. Also, known as “The Fultz Quadruplets”, they were the first recorded identical black quadruplets in the world, and the first set of quads to survive in the South.
If the fact they are all named marry isn’t weird enough for you, it’s worth noting that they weren’t named by their father, mother, or any genetic relative. They were named in fact by their doctor. Dr. Fred Klenner delivered and named the girls after women in his family. His wife name was Ann (Marry Ann), his aunt’s name was Alice (Mary Alice), his daughter’s name was Louise (Mary Louise), and his great aunts’ name was Catherine (Mary Catherine). What authority did this doctor possess to name someone else children? We’ll come back to this question at the end of this post.
The girls were born at the segregated wing of the hospital in what was referred to as the basement, and Mr. and Mrs. Fultz were poor. Mr. Fultz (whose name was James, not Pete as he was called) was a Sharecropper, and Mrs. Fultz being both deaf and mute, couldn’t read and write according to And Then There was One by Lorraine Ahearn, (August 2002). Besides this, the Fultz’s had six other children, was without a car, without electricity, phone and running water.
Thus, they didn’t debate when Klenner negotiated a deal with a Pet Milk Company who paid all medical expenses, food, land, a house, and a live-in nurse to care for the girls. All of this was in exchange for using the girls for promotional purposes. Klenner even created a schedule where people could come and visit the quads, who were put on display behind a glass screen.
Pet Milk sales skyrocketed as the girls helped to brand the product, becoming the face of Pet Milk. Pet Milk?
“And so it was that the Fultz Quadruplets left Annie Penn Hospital: under contract, named after their white doctor’s relatives, headed home to a glass-enclosed nursery and driven there in a pair of McLaurin Funeral Home ambulances.”
– Lorraine Ahearn
Blogger Ladyrayne on Talking Stuff, who wrote a post on the Quads after listening to The Tom Joyner Morning Show last year wrote, “According to Edna Saylor, the nurse who worked at the Annie Penn Hospital and who would eventually become the quads legal guardian, the farm that was given to the Fultz family really didn’t amount to much and PET could have done a better job when it came to helping the Fultz family. Ms. Saylor stated that PET took advantage of the Fultz family because they were considered backwoods type of people.”
The Quads were adopted by Charles and Elma Saylor, who moved them to Yanceyville, and their travels became more frequent. They flew to Chicago at the invitation of Ebony publisher Johnnie Johnson, who featured them on his cover four times, appeared in Chicago’s star-studded Bud Billiken Parade, went on TV with Roy Rogers and Texas Pete, and would go on to appear in many more ads and make TV appearances. At thirteen (1959) they performed as a string quartet in the annual Orange Blossom Festival in Miami, Florida and at sixteen (’62) they were featured in a Pet Milk ad for an autographed picture. Many remember them most from their visit to meet Presidents Harry S. Truman and John F. Kennedy.
Now, back to our question: What authority did this doctor possess to name someone’s children?
I believe we have to understand the climate of the era first, let’s take it back:
The Three-Fifths Compromise – I’m not going to debate the “Three-Fifths” human being thing because it’s a silly debate to me. What I will do is discuss only the facts.
It is a fact that the label minority in reference to many ethnic groups, namely African Americans and Hispanics, is misleading. Not only do ethnic peoples represent the majority of the nation but in the fight to maintain slavery, enslaved persons outnumbered whites in the slave states (or rather states that were admittedly slave states). It was the desire of the Democrats (who were pro-slavery) to overturn the legislation if they could get a majority vote. There was however a problem: Blacks weren’t even considered human and therefore had no rights.
It was not uncommon for a dog to sleep in his master’s bed and an enslaved to sleep on his master’s floor. That said, the Slave states wanted to count the slaves and the “Non-Slave” States didn’t want to count the slaves. Slaves never counted so why count them now? Well, as said, blacks have always made up the majority so the North weren’t having it. With a desire to weaken the slave states they couldn’t have them counting the slaves. They told the south that listen if you count your “property” (it is a historical fact blacks were property, like clothing, milk, and cotton) then we can count our property too. We’ll count our cattle, furniture, pets, and so on in our tallies. Of course, the south refused.
So, we go back and forth until a compromise is made. Enslaved Blacks in slave states would be counted as three-fifths of a person. It is a fact that blacks were always looked upon as being subhuman, animals or otherwise. Members of the North thought it was hypocritical to count blacks for purposes of representation but not grant them their full rights as human beings and citizens. Still, despite this, they still compromised. The reason the debate was occurring at all was because the South wanted to maintain slavery and their perception that blacks were not human beings
- Authority and Ownership – Typically, people name their pets after their relatives or give them their last names. It’s a historical fact that enslaved blacks wore the last names of their Slave owners which many still have until this day. Our names reflected our masters because we were their property, they owned us and when you own something, you can name it whatever you want. Parents name their children what they want because they belong to them.
Jim Crow Laws – Though no longer chattel slavery, 1940s North Carolina, like the rest of America, enforced segregation through Jim Crow laws (named after a white man performing black face in mockery of blacks in minstrel shows). As such, many cities and states (South AND North) could impose legal punishments on people for interacting with members of another race. The most common types of laws forbade intermarriage and ordered business owners and public institutions to keep their black and white clientele separated.
Eugenics – Blacks have long been used for the sake of medical experimentation in America. In the late 30s, thirty states in the U.S. utilized sterilization laws (1938) and by 1942 The American Birth Control League had changed its name to Planned Parenthood. Needless to say, by 1946 we are smack down amid The Eugenics Movement.
A term coined by Francis Galton (cousin of Charles Darwin, whose Origin of Species is a short form of the longer and original title: “The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection: The Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life”), Eugenics is the process of improving a race by getting rid of those less desirable and fit. That said the physician-slave relationship is historically well known.
In 1847 a state medical convention in Alabama issued a recommendation that doctors caring for slaves seek liens upon the human chattel if their bills were not paid. (Source: New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal 4, 1848, pg. 678). By 1858, 75 percent of the North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company policies were written on slaves.
All the Fultz sisters developed breast cancer later in life with only one sister who survived it (Mary Catherine). With historical maltreatment of blacks going back to Saartjie Baartman, Ota Benga, The Muse Brothers, and The McCoy Twins, the sad reality is that even though Pet Milk wasn’t a product for pets specifically, the imagery and racial symbolism that have always been associated with blacks (far as being animals or animalistic), is enough to see that Klenner and the dairy companies saw a financial opportunity from the inception and knew exactly what they were doing.
“For no matter what the public thought, the highly publicized Pet Milk advertising contracts had brought in just enough money—$350 a month— to keep the Fultz Quads off North Carolina’s welfare rolls.” (Chares L. Sanders, Ebony Magazine, November 1968)
Pet Milk became the first to offer nonfat dry milk, an advance over the powdered milk developed in the 1920s. Sales soared when Pet Milk took advantage of the post-war baby boom and promoted The Fultz Sisters who were a national sensation due their rarity, making 1950 the all-time-high sales year for Pet Evaporated Milk.
EBONY, “The Fultz Quads” by Charles L. Sanders, Nov. 1968.
Ebony’s Spread on the Sisters can be found on Google Books HERE (Page 212) (Its cool going through the Ads from 1968 too!)
News & Record
“And then there was one” by Staff Writer Lorraine Ahearn, Aug. 2002.
Talking Stuff Blog
Title: House of The Hanging Jade
Author: Amy M. Reade
Print Length: 246 pages
Publisher: Lyrical Underground (April 26, 2016)
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*
Not willing to cope with Washington’s brutal winters, Kailani makes the decision to break up with restaurant owner Geoffrey and leave her job to return home. Back to the warm weather and beauty that is Hawaii, black sand and the curling waves of the Pacific Ocean. In preparation to return, Kailani searches for employment and secures a position as personal chef to Lars Jorgensen, owner of Kaimana Surf Company and his wife Dr. Barbara Merriweather, on the West Coast of the Big Island in the district of North Kohala.
When she gets there, The Jorgensen’s house is beautiful and this sous-chef is ill prepared for what awaits beyond the lush tropical gardens of palm trees, midnight jasmine, red ginger, and pergola laden with hanging Jade. As Kailani settles in, a series of events begin to unfold that question the stability of the Jorgensen household. First, Lars and Barbie doesn’t seem to like each other much, which could have something to do with Barbie’s roaming eye (and other body parts).
The children are not very fond of Kailani’s healthy cooking although Barbie requires her to prepare more nutritional meals to curve her family’s appetite for junk food. Still, this is not the extent to Kailani’s problems. Things get weird when Geoffrey moves to Hawaii to be with her (even though she’s already told him its over), and a body is found on the Jorgensen’s property.
There are a few things I enjoyed about this book. Because Kailani is a chef, I enjoyed reading about the kinds of meals she would prepare for the family. (Especially when she started to get really creative to get the children to eat healthy.) It really gave me a sense of the Hawaiian culture.
I also like how the plot pretty much focuses on this one family. To me that gives the story a TV show kind of feel. Meaning, every time I put my Kindle down I’d think about what I’d read in tomorrow’s episode of the House of the Hanging Jade. Speaking of episodes, there’s plenty of drama to go around! Let’s just say the Jorgensen’s are off the chain.
There’s a lot going on in this house and I kept wondering why Kailani didn’t just quit her job. It becomes so dangerous for her that Lars has installed a new security system. Of all of this, what I love most about this book is the children! For those of you who know me you know I love the “itty bitty’s” and Marcus and Justine’s presence in the house added the breath of fresh air and light that I needed as a reader in the midst of the family’s raging storms.
It is in fact the children’s well-being and state of mind that makes this book worthwhile and that will keep you reading. What’s really going on in the house with the hanging Jade?
Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5
Entertainment Factor: 4/5
Authenticity / Believable: 4/5
Thought Provoking: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4 / 5 stars
House of the Hanging Jade is available now on Amazon!
Be sure to contact this Best Selling Author at the links below!
Amy can be found online at the following places:
Did you just write a book? In need of more reviews? Register Your Book HERE! Please be sure to read through my guidelines and to register long books (300+ pages) far enough in advance for me to read them thoroughly if you have a preferred date for your published review. I publish reviews to this blog every Friday (or every other Friday). I also post them to the authors Amazon and Goodreads page and feature the linked book covers on my Author website and email list. Stay tuned for next weeks author!
Well said. I enjoyed reading this. Post quote:
“Building a career as an author is a marathon not a sprint and anyone who expects instant results is likely to wind up disillusioned and disappointed.”
When you launch yourself off on a career as an indie author you need to have expectations of what you would like to achieve.
Expectations vs Reality by Kristian Bjornard courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons licensed by CC BY-SA 2.0
It’s good to have dreams but a dash of reality wouldn’t go amiss.
Writing a book takes a long time. Marketing a book takes a long time. Building a career as an author is a marathon not a sprint and anyone who expects instant results is likely to wind up disillusioned and disappointed.
Houses that are built to last have strong foundations. Create your brand with the future in mind. I was given some sage advice when I started out. I was told to assume it would take three years and/or five books to reach a point where things were ticking over career wise. The smart money…
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Snaps Fingers (90s Jams is back next week ya’ll…for my youngins out there)
You may have noticed I’ve been posting less frequently this past couple of weeks. I’d admit. I’ve been so into research of the industry that I’ve lost focus a bit on how I do things. So concerned about how it’s done that I’ve neglected my way of getting it done. You’ve been off focus Yecheilyah (Yes, I talk to myself, doesn’t everyone?) Now that I’ve disciplined myself, it’s time to refocus.
So, here’s what’s going on guys.
As you all know I’m writing a two-part novel series and I am approaching that six-month pre-release time. My hope is to launch Book One of The Nora White Story between June and July of next year. Though I haven’t decided on a date, I am putting together a plan that will help me to focus on execution. My husband says I suck at multi-tasking which takes someone who knows me well to see considering the load I carry.
The truth is I can only get away with doing so much due to maintaining a level of balance and by balance I mean deadlines and dedication. For instance, I host an online radio show every Thursday evening with a queue sheet that needs to be sent to my panel no later than Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning at the latest. These are deadlines I’ve given myself. That’s because I know myself and how much I need deadlines to keep me focused and as the excitement of another book release begins to creep in, I’ll be shifting my efforts to ensure everything is in its proper place.
I’ll admit something else too. I don’t like to reveal too much of what I’m doing during the writing and publishing process! At least not until I’ve met a certain goal. The reason is because I believe there are forces out there that are against us just as there are forces that are for us. I do not then think it is wise to reveal your plans or at least not everything that you’re doing. As I am refocusing I’ve noticed that my level of discretion is in need of a tune up so I won’t be divulging every detail but I will let you in on a little something-something!
Return on Time
The first thing I am focusing on is time management and ROT. We’ve all heard of Return on Investment. A high ROI means you receive a gain that is well worth the investment. Taking the ROI understanding and applying it to time, although I cannot foresee the details of the future I can take advantage of the time I am given in each day to dedicate toward some of the production work for this book. What I want to implement is practical tactics and execution that will produce a valuable gain from having put in the work, such as the completion of my work by the deadlines I set forth.
As of now, I’m thinking about things I can do to increase interest in the book (that I’ll implement later) that won’t be just a waste of time and resources. I truly believe hard work pays off and let’s just say it’s time to grind! Once I settle on a release date and announce that date, I do not intend on changing it, and if I manage my time right, I shouldn’t have to.
Speaking of release dates, I have my first real update for you!
- Book Launch Date
- Book Cover Release
- Matching Social Media Banners
This is all tentative but if everything falls into place I’ll have a book cover and blurb to promote as early as December to accompany the decided launch date for next year. I’ve chosen to do this for several reasons, one of them being it’s different than how I released my other books and that’s what I love about Independent Publishing. With every book are new experiences so I love experimenting with different things. I also really want to have certain things done before I start promoting a release date. It’s important to me to have the Book Cover and blurb to go along with the date. This way the visual representation and a full idea of what the book is about will keep things exciting!
Guest Blog Posts and Email List
I enjoy blogging (*Waves to new subscribers, by the way!*) and consider it an important part of my work so of course, I’ll still be here but you should expect the number of posts to decline. (By decline I just mean I’ll be posting once or twice a day or every other day instead of my usual outrageous posting behavior). Instead, I intend to guest post on as many blogs as I can so I won’t be entirely out of the loop. As part of my refocus initiative, I am also dedicating time to building up and adding more value to my email list.
Book reviews will commence. I know I’ve missed a couple weeks but I’ll have another author for you Friday. Those of you who submitted your book for a review I thank you for your patience. I’ll be reading and writing reviews as part of my refocus initiative so I should be churning them out more consistently. I do read a lot but that also includes my scripture studies (can’t neglect the word!) so I have to balance my time. If I haven’t responded to you yet no worries, I got them all and am organizing them to be read in the order in which they were received.
(P.S. I have a surprise, guess what’s coming back Friday? Black History Fun Fact Friday! Friday, I am officially bringing back this segment. Our first story is a group of beautiful women that not a lot of people know about. Their story is, well, something. You don’t want to miss it).
The most important factor in a writer’s life, at least in my opinion, is not mere talent. Neither is it some mysterious entity floating in the air called luck. It is not how much you blog or how less you blog. It is not how much money you spend or how little money you spend. It is not even your profound research and marketing skills. These elements surely help, but the greatest difference and perhaps the most unique too, between writing and other careers is a writer’s level of discipline and confidence. To keep writing, I often find that I must maintain a proper balance of each of them. Believing enough in your ability to write and having a consistent writing practice is often the difference between aspiring authors and published authors. Of course, it does not stop here but it is a step in the right direction.
The advice we hear from like-minded bloggers, agents, editors, or just authors, in general, have always, and perhaps will continue to be, our focus on writing. Because engaging in any activity of whatever sort on a daily basis naturally makes one more familiar with it, we will always hear how important it is to write and to keep writing. While this is good advice, I think that for many writers finding the time to write and sketching out a daily routine is not always easy and this is often underestimated by those who are not writers or those who consider writing to involve less work than other careers.
“Self-discipline, what many call will-power, refers to the ability to persist at difficult or unpleasant tasks until they are completed. People who possess high self-discipline are able to overcome reluctance to begin tasks and stay on track despite distractions. Those with low self-discipline procrastinate and show poor follow-through, often failing to complete tasks even tasks they want very much to complete.” – Wikipedia
When a writer transitions from the workplace to fulfill a writing career, his initial challenge will be to maintain a certain level of self-discipline. For years he has not had to create his own time sheets, develop his own projects, and schedule his own lunch breaks. All of this has been done for him by the corporation in which he has worked for. It is now that, as a full-time writer, he must put in the necessary time to ensure a proper work day, rest, and vacation time.
He must dig deep into his resourceful mind and find the inspiration to write, in some way, daily. If he is not writing, then he must attempt to focus that energy in the direction of reading, social media marketing, offline marketing, and public speaking events to keep in line with the workflow. As we can see, the full-time writer has a lot to do and it is not always easy finding the discipline to get it done.
Sometimes it is just so hard finding the time. What I have come to invest in, however, is my purpose. As long as I remember my purpose and invest in that it is usually enough to keep me moving. This is because discipline works hand in hand with motivation and drive. It is that ingrained, determined urge to attain a goal or satisfy a need. It is the answer to the question, “Why do you write?” This answer is different for each of us but the result is the same. If every full-time writer kept his primary goal, the answer to the question of why he or she must write, always at the forefront of his mind it can undoubtedly become the catalyst to a more disciplined writing life and as a result more material.
Yet, in all of this, a writer must still believe in his ability to write and speak this into existence.
There’s a lot of criticism out there for writers. It is enough to keep us full for a lifetime. Not only in its relation to the backlash geared at Self-Publishers, but many people also do not see entrepreneurship, specifically writing, as being a “real job”. For this reason, confidence is necessary to be an apart of this movement. It is not to think more highly of yourself than you should think, (*caution: recipe for disaster*) since there is a power greater than you. But confidence is the state of feeling certain about something.
Working for you can feel like a blessing and a curse. There is so much to do, so much to strive for and (wait for it) so much failure. But if you believe in that aged old saying, “hard work pays off”, you will allow self-discipline and experience to train you into the professional you need to become.
One of the greatest ways to maintain just enough confidence to get the work done but at the same time maintain just enough humility is to be of help to others as best and as often as you can. What you do always comes back. How you treat others will almost certainly reflect how you yourself are treated. It’s not always about you, and yet your personal goals are still important.
So there’s a balance between our level of discipline–which will get the work done–and our level of confidence, which will keep us going when a project has failed to meet the goal. In the words of Kevin Nance, “failure curdles into something else… I go down into that failed place, and I think, ‘I’m going to take a look at that failure and make something of it”.