AfriGeneas Health and Wellness Forum
medical history health and wellness
Interest in the Health and Wellness Forum is derived in part from research carried out at the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine London, England. The focus of research generally was Africa and the Diaspora.
Amongst the particular areas researched were: history variations in mortality and morbidity amongst African-Caribbean and Asian populations in the United Kingdom; early european military medicine: special reference to botanic gardens Caribbean; tropical disease (malaria and cause of fevers) and comparison of eugenic history between Germany and the United States. Special reference in study of eugenics was given to the Garvey Movement and the Pacific Northwest of the United States (Seattle, Washington). This research was carried out over a period of years and furthered in other European and US libraries; museums and botanical gardens.
Various files were examined in the course of work. One of the most extensive were those relating to the Eugenics Education Society (1907) held by Archives and Manuscripts the Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine. At the time the original manuscripts were available for research. These files comprised the work of Sir Francis Galton and his assistant Karl Pearson University College London.
Also included were materials from eugenic organizations and activities in: North and South America; Mexico; South Africa,Puerto Rico; Europe, Russia, Japan; Australia; Cuba and diverse places throughout the globe. It is important to recognize the importance of civil law,courts and the Federal system of government in the implementation and administration of eugenic policies; boards and directives throughout the United States and the example afforded to other countries in implementing eugenic law.
A significant aspect of eugenic philosophy and pursuits were health, well-being and fitness. There was information on contests for perfect babies and the ideal family. Encouragement was given to select partners that would preserve the 'germ plasm' of the white race for the present and future. This meant that mixed marriages and the offspring would only destroy the 'white race' and thus civilization.
There were also files which included forced sterilization in the united states; improving mental and physical characteristics according to eugenic standards; results of eugenic surveys; racial variations; use of war for a more selective population as well as modern euthanasia and references to various universities in the United States and elsewhere encouraging eugenic policies.
Karl Pearson (1857-1936), assistant to Sir Francis Galton, studied in Germany. Therefore an examination of his views on Germany provided an insight relative to the development of eugenic studies and philosophy between the United Kingdom and Germany. An aspect of Karl Pearson's studies was his research of the Eddas which represents Norse and Germanic fables and stories. I associate it with the Hansel and Gretel story, by the Grimms Brothers, read to me as a child.
The work of Dr. Montague Cobb (1904-1990) Howard University, although modest, was examined at the Wellcome Library. Dr. Cobb worked assiduously to redress the damage of racial bigotry and denial of medical access to the fabric of African-American health care. Dr. Cobb organized programmes to improve the skills of African-American physicians such as the use of study groups. This method arose at a time when Black physicians were restricted from using medical libraries and many public libraries. Findings of the Flexner Report of 1910 furthered racial bigotry for African-American physicians in the service of their communities. Dr. Cobb also took a special interest in dispelling myths regarding the success of the black athlete when he was allowed to compete. For further information about Dr. Montague Cobb visit http//www.nmanet.org the Cobb NMA Health Institute.
Health and Wellness is as old as antiquity and as modern as eugenics.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
Dr. I.M. Spence-Lewis
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