Enslaved African Americans were subject to forced family separation throughout their enslavement. Family members were sold to different slave owners and were often never reunited, even following the abolition of slavery. Many white people either embraced the myth that slaves did not feel deep emotion and were therefore unaffected by this separation, or willfully ignored their cries.
Chandler, David L. (1981). Family bonds and the bondsman: The slave family in colonial Colombia. Latin American Research Review 16(2), 107-131.
Cody, Cheryll Ann. (1982). Naming, kinship, and estate dispersal: Notes on slave family life in on a South Carolina plantation, 1786 to 1833. The William and Mary Quarterly 39(1), 192-211.
West, Emily. (1999). Surviving Separation: Cross-Plantation marriages and the slave trade in antebellum South Carolina. Journal of Family History 24(2), 212-231.