Vital Records

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Vital Records
Vital records are birth, marriage, and death records that are kept by governmental authorities, such as towns, cities, or states. They can record information about birth, marriage, and death dates, race, gender, employment, place of birth, parents, etc., depending on when they were created. We also should take a moment to consider the way racialization and gendering happens to someone immediately through this categorization on birth records. Think about the term mulatto, for example—it is a legacy of attempts to establish taxonomies of race, a socially constructed concept that has no biological basis. This all starts, and doesn’t end, with birth records and other vital records.


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