Black History Fun Fact Friday – The Fultz Sisters

black-history

*********************

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:

19a5122c74098a54eab59283a181042b

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.

Quads Nurse
The odds of single-egg identical quadruplets were one-in-a-million, but the fact that they survived and were thriving by their first birthday created a national sensation. (Source: Ebony magazine)

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 Fultz Quads
Klenner holding one of the Fultz quadruplets. (EBONY)

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.

world-famous-fultz

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.

fultz-quads fcf00d32ee11965a393ed39af2ea23c2quad13tumblr_o205uivjeh1qknkb7o4_400

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.

fultzquads1
Deu 28:50 a fierce-looking nation, which shows no regard for the elderly nor show favour to the young,

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.

SOURCES:
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

http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=caswellcounty&id=I37423

“And then there was one” by Staff Writer Lorraine Ahearn, Aug. 2002.

http://www.roccomanzi.it/IMP-VITAMINERALI/SCIENZIATI/scienziati-docu/klenner/FultzQuadswasone_file/FultzQuadswasone.htm

Talking Stuff Blog

https://talkinstuff.wordpress.com/2015/06/10/the-fultz-quadruplets/

Yecheilyah’s Book Reviews – House of the Hanging Jade by Amy M. Reade

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

Language: English

ASIN: B0138NHCMO

*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?

Ratings:
Plot Movement / Strength: 4/5
Entertainment Factor: 4/5
Characterization: 5/5
Authenticity / Believable: 4/5
Thought Provoking: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4 / 5 stars

House of the Hanging Jade is available  now on Amazon!

51zd4bwadxl

Be sure to contact this Best Selling Author at the links below!

Amy can be found online at the following places:

Website: www.amymreade.com

Blog: www.amreade.wordpress.com

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/author/show/8189243.Amy_M_Reade

Amazon: www.amazon.com/Amy-M.-Reade/e/B00LX6ASF2/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Facebook: www.facebook.com/groups/AmyMReadesGothicFictionFans/

Twitter: www.twitter.com/readeandwrite

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/amreade

Instagram: www.instagram.com/amymreade

************

bitmoji-926110877

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!