Green's Dictionary of Slang has this to say about the phrase "ball and chain."
(orig. US black) one’s wife or regular girlfriend; thus ball-and-chained, married.
However, the earliest citations provided in GDoS are from white fiction writers.
1924 [US] Hecht & Bodenheim Cutie 62: So this is the way you have been deceiving me! [...] with a ball and chain waiting for you at home.
1928 [US] Hecht & MacArthur Front Page Act I: sheriff: Oh, hello, dear. kruger: Sounds like the ball and chain.
1929 [US] H.C. Witwer Yes Man’s Land 185: ‘Oh, please don’t start a row, Egbert!’ murmurs his ball-and-chain.
At the age of 16, Hecht ran away to Chicago, where, in his own words, he "haunted streets, whorehouses, police stations, courtrooms, theater stages, jails, saloons, slums, madhouses, fires, murders, riots, banquet halls, and bookshops."
H.C. Witwer is likewise a white American fiction writer.
What evidence is there suggesting that the phrase originated in U.S. black culture?
Are there any earlier citations than the ones from GDoS?
What are the earliest known uses by a black writer?