Infectious fear : politics, disease, and the health effects of segregation / Samuel Kelton Roberts Jr.Material type: TextSeries: Studies in social medicinePublisher: Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, c2009Description: xiii, 313 p. : illus ; 24 cmISBN: 9780807832592 (cloth : alk. paper); 9780807859346 (pbk. : alk. paper)Subject(s): Tuberculosis -- United States -- History -- 20th century | African Americans -- Diseases -- History -- 20th century | Urban health -- United States -- History -- 20th century | Segregation -- Health aspects -- United States -- History -- 20th century | Tuberculosis, Pulmonary -- epidemiology -- United States | Tuberculosis, Pulmonary -- history -- United States | African Americans -- history -- United States | History, 20th Century -- United States | Prejudice -- United States | Public Health -- history -- United States | Urban Health -- history -- United StatesDDC classification: 362.196/995 LOC classification: RA644.T7 | R585 2009
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Includes bibliographical references and index.
Introduction : disease histories and race histories -- Toward a historical epidemiology of African American tuberculosis -- The rise of the city and the decline of the negro : the historical idea of black tuberculosis and the politics of color and class -- Urban underdevelopment, politics, and the landscape of health -- Establishing boundaries : politics, science, and stigma in the early antituberculosis movement -- Locating African Americans and finding the "lung block" -- The web of surveillance and the emerging politics of public health in Baltimore -- The road to Henryton and the ends of progressivism -- Conclusion : unequal burdens : public health at the intersection of segregation and housing politics.
For most of the first half of the twentieth century, tuberculosis ranked among the top three causes of mortality among urban African Americans. Often afflicting an entire family or large segments of a neighborhood, the plague of TB was as mysterious as it was fatal. Samuel Kelton Roberts Jr. examines how individuals and institutions--black and white, public and private--responded to the challenges of tuberculosis in a segregated society.
Reactionary white politicians and health officials promoted "racial hygiene" and sought to control TB through Jim Crow quarantines, Roberts explains. African Americans, in turn, protested the segregated, overcrowded housing that was the true root of the tuberculosis problem. Moderate white and black political leadership reconfigured definitions of health and citizenship, extending some rights while constraining others. Meanwhile, those who suffered with the disease--as its victims or as family and neighbors--made the daily adjustments required by the devastating effects of the "white plague."
Exploring the politics of race, reform, and public health, Infectious Fear uses the tuberculosis crisis to illuminate the limits of racialized medicine and the roots of modern health disparities. Ultimately, it reveals a disturbing picture of the United States' health history while offering a vision of a more democratic future.