At times mirroring and at times shockingly disparate to the rise of traditional white American medicine, the history of African-American health care is a story of traditional healers; root doctors; granny midwives; underappreciated and overworked African-American physicians; scrupulous and unscrupulous white doctors and scientists; governmental support and neglect; epidemics; and poverty. Virtually every part of this story revolves around race. More than 50 years after the publication of An American Dilemma, Gunnar Myrdal's 1944 classic about race relations in the USA, An American Health Dilemma presents a comprehensive and groundbreaking history and social analysis of race, race relations and the African-American medical and public health experience. Beginning with the origins of western medicine and science in Egypt, Greece and Rome the authors explore the relationship between race, medicine, and health care from the precursors of American science and medicine through the days of the slave trade with the harrowing middle passage and equally deadly breaking-in period through the Civil War and the gains of reconstruction and the reversals caused by Jim Crow laws. It offers an extensive examination of the history of intellectual and scientific racism that evolved to give sanction to the mistreatment, medical abuse, and neglect of African Americans and other non-white people. Also included are biographical portraits of black medical pioneers like James McCune Smith, the first African American to earn a degree from a European university, and anecdotal vignettes,like the tragic story of "the Hottentot Venus", which illustrate larger themes.
An American Health Dilemma promises to become an irreplaceable and essential look at African-American and medical history and will provide an invaluable baseline for future exploration of race and racism in the American health system.
Table of ContentsChapter One: Race, Biology, and Health Care in the United States: Reassessing a Relationship
Chapter Two: Black Health in the Pre-Colonial Period
Chapter Three: Black Health in the North American English Colonies: 1619 to 1731
Chapter Four: Black Health in the
Republican Era: 1731-1812
Chapter Five: Black Health in the Jacksonian Period: 1812-1861
Chapter Six: The Civil War, Reconstruction, and Post-Reconstruction and Black Health, 1861-1900
Conclusion: Laying the Foundations of a Dual and Unequal Health System
for anyone interested in correcting the existing inequalities in the current health system (U.S. Congressman John Conyers, Jr.)
What People are Saying About This
An American Health Dilemma is by far the most comprehensive historical and sociocultural analysis ever published on race and the African-American medical experience. We are indebted to Drs. Byrd and Clayton for these two groundbreaking volumes. (William Julius Wilson, Harvard University)
An American Health Dilemma offers a wealth of information on the role race plays in health delivery in imerica. This long overdue work is the first comprehensive explanation of how the race and class-based health disparities evolved in the United States...A must-read for anyone interested in correcting the existing inequalities in the current health system. (U.S. Congressman John Conyers, Jr.)
In a pioneering analysis these talented Harvard scholars examine the historical origins and persistence of discrimination in the health care system....This book is must reading for every American doctor and every other health provider, as well as for the general public. (Joe Feagin, University of Florida)
An extraordinary achievement by the authors to bring together...the history of the African-American health experience in the U.S. and its broader historical perspective. (From the Foreword by Robert J. Blendon, Harvard School of Public Health and Kennedy School of Government)