In The News #BigIsms

The racist Tuskegee syphilis experiment was exposed 50 years ago
DeNeen L. Brown and Aaron Wiener, July 26, 2022, The Washington Post


In the fall of 1932, the fliers began appearing around Macon County, Ala., promising “colored people” special treatment for “bad blood.”

“Free Blood Test; Free Treatment, By County Health Department and Government Doctors,” the black-and-white signs said. “YOU MAY FEEL WELL AND STILL HAVE BAD BLOOD. COME AND BRING ALL YOUR FAMILY.”

Hundreds of men — all Black and many of them poor — signed up. Some of the men thought they were being treated for rheumatism or bad stomachs. They were promised free meals, free physicals and free burial insurance.

What the signs never told them was they would become part of the “Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male,” a secret experiment conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service to study the progression of the deadly venereal disease — without treatment.

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What the US can learn from apartheid-era book bans in South Africa
Helen Kapstein, July 28, 2022, The Conversation


“Beloved.” “The Hate U Give.” “Maus.” “Burger’s Daughter.”

Each of these books has been banned at some point in time, but one stands out. Instead of being banned in 21st-century America, Nadine Gordimer’s “Burger’s Daughter” was banned in 20th century South Africa during apartheid, that country’s period of official white supremacist rule.

So why include it in this list? Despite the decades and distance between bans on this book and the others, the rise in attempts to ban and censor books in America in 2022 looks an awful lot like what South African censors did during apartheid. I make this observation as a scholar who specializes in studying literature to better understand the intersections of race, oppression and resistance.

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How One Historian Located Liberia’s Elusive Founding Document
Amy Crawford, July/August 2022, Smithsonian Magazine


In December 1821, the U.S. Navy schooner Alligator, under the command of Lt. Robert F. Stockton, sailed down Africa’s Windward Coast to anchor off a rocky headland known as Cape Mesurado. The Alligator’s usual assignment was to patrol the area for American ships engaging in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, which the United States had outlawed 13 years earlier. But on this voyage, Stockton was transporting a New Jersey physician named Eli Ayres, an agent for the American Colonization Society, which was seeking a permanent home in Africa for free Black Americans.

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'A specific form of anti-Black racism': Scholars want Canadian apology for slavery
July 31, 2022, Delta Optimist 


More than a year after Canada proclaimed Aug. 1 as Emancipation Day, Black leaders and scholars are renewing their calls for Ottawa to make a formal apology for the country's history of slavery and its intergenerational harms.

Author Elise Harding-Davis said Sunday that the federal government’s vote last March to recognize Emancipation Day shows Canadian leaders know that the country’s history of slavery has caused generations of harm to Black people.

To ignore years of calls for a proper apology is “shameful,” she said.

“An apology would mean recognition of the fact that we were enslaved in this country,” Harding-Davis said in an interview. “It would also be an amelioration of the harsh treatment Black people have received and the validation that we have honestly contributed not only to this country, but to the making of this country.”

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“Politicians, Priests, and psychiatrists often face the same problem: how to find the most rapid and permanent means of changing a man’s belief…The problem of the doctor and his nervously ill patient, and that of the religious leader who sets out to gain and hold new converts, has now become the problem of whole groups of nations, who wish not only to confirm certain political beliefs within their boundaries, but to proselytize the outside world.” – William Sargant “Battle of the Mind”

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