For historians of African American public health, the 2008 U.S. presidential election was a landmark event--not only because it produced the nation's first African American commander-in-chief, but also because unprecedented numbers of elderly African Americans received "flu shots" in the process. Considered wary of vaccination due to a long collective history of medical exploitation and neglect, African Americans have long ranked among those U.S. citizens least likely to avail themselves of preventive vaccines, resulting in low vaccination rates among black children, adults, and senior citizens alike. (1) Governmental and private agencies have devoted vast resources to correcting this disparity, encouraging many innovative outreach programs. (2) Among the most striking is "Vote and Vax," the Sickness Prevention Achieved through Regional Collaboration (SPARC) initiative that worked with community groups to bring influenza vaccination to polling places in 2008. Launched in 1996 and expanded in 2006 with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, "Vote and Vax" provides convenient polling-place vaccination to the elderly, who comprise the largest numbers of both registered U.S. voters and influenza fatalities. (3) Through such outreach, the program melds the civic responsibilities of the franchise with those long associated with vaccination. (4)
Almost a year before the 4 November 2008 election, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced that "Vote and Vax 2008" would offer free influenza vaccination at 250 sites in thirty-five states and Washington, DC, on election day. (5) Some observers, noting that analysts expected Barack Obama's candidacy to increase African American voter participation exponentially, predicted a concomitant spike in the number of black elders consenting to polling-place vaccination. (6) Post-election reports vindicated these forecasts, as analysts concluded that "Vote and Vax" had immunized record numbers of African American senior citizens during the 2008 election. (7) If, as some researchers have argued, racial disparities in willingness to be vaccinated vary according to the characteristics of the vaccination program, then Barack Obama's presidential bid appears to have provided some African Americans with increased incentive for polling-place vaccination. (8)
With "Vote and Vax" pledged to participate in the approaching midterm elections of November 2010, this is an opportune moment to consider the historical antecedents of the 2008 presidential election's marriage of vaccination and African American political concerns. (9) Because effective vaccination campaigns encourage prevention among individuals in order to guard against the spread of disease within the larger population, they have traditionally appealed to civic duty in ways that blend politics and medical science. (10) Nonetheless, much of the press coverage of "Vote and Vax 2008" presupposed that the program's juxtaposition of vaccination and African Americans' national political interests was without precedent. (11) However, reporting of much older provenance, specifically that of the abolitionist and African American press that comprised black print culture in the United States in the four decades preceding the Civil War, presented smallpox vaccination as an integral part of African Americans' understanding of civic and political involvement. Within this antebellum print culture, vaccination featured in free, northern African Americans' efforts to demonstrate that both they and their enslaved brethren in the South were "fit for freedom," that is, possessed of the mental and physical soundness and commitment to civic engagement that qualified them for full citizenship rights. More importantly, this print culture promoted vaccination in order to encourage behaviors consistent with citizenship, including intellectual advancement and civic responsibility, among its African American readership.
This essay explores vaccination's role in this discursive citizenship ideal by focusing upon the experience of black Philadelphians, who comprised the largest African American community in the North in the antebellum period. While earlier research assessed the municipal and private means through which the city's African Americans secured vaccination, I consider black Philadelphians' attitudes toward vaccination, contrasting these views with prevailing medico-scientific and municipal interpretations. (12) In so doing, I illustrate that antebellum "fitness for freedom" discourse established compliance with and demonstration of scientific understanding of vaccination as embodiments of the citizenship ideal that free African Americans in the North sought. Conversely, inhibited access to vaccination reflected the lack of control that their enslaved southern brethren had over their own bodies and health decisions--a depiction that further reinforced vaccination as an emblem of freedom. In this way, I argue, black print culture promoted bodily vaccination in support of a larger citizenship project that laid claim to the body politic.
AFRICAN AMERICANS AND THE SCIENCE OF CITIZENSHIP
This larger struggle for citizenship was a significant undertaking during an era in which municipal officials not only ascribed the poor living conditions and high disease burdens of many black Philadelphians to racially determined deficiencies of body and mind, but also cited these inherent shortcomings as grounds to withhold civil rights and liberties. Because several cities adopted similar stances, free African Americans throughout the Northeast were acutely aware that such municipal responses paralleled contemporary rationales for keeping African Americans enslaved in the South. (13) The concept that African Americans were physiologically "unfit for freedom" simultaneously curtailed free African Americans' exercise of citizenship rights and barred enslaved African Americans from the status of citizens altogether. In Intensely Human: The Health of the Black Soldier in the American Civil War, historian Margaret Humphreys's assessment of the importance of Civil War era theories of black inferiority also applies in the antebellum period.
Contemporaries expected the black body to respond differently ... and for the most part found their expectations and prejudices displayed in ... medical statistics ... [T]he differential ... had a direct relevance to broader questions about ... adaptability to full American citizenship. For a time the black body in health and disease became central to the broader discourse on reinventing the American polity. (14)
The civil restrictions that arose within this milieu had grim effects upon Philadelphia's African American community. Indeed, historians have long characterized the 1820s as the start of a long series of municipally legislated social restrictions that curtailed black Philadelphians' civil liberties and socioeconomic mobility until well after the Civil War. (15) When a sudden rise in southern "slave-catcher" incursions in the 1820s occasioned kidnappings among free blacks, municipal officials did little to intercede--a stance that drew sharp criticism when ten free black children were abducted in the city and sold into slavery in 1825 and 1826. (16) Similarly, in 1838 the city upheld Pennsylvania state legislators' 1837 repeal of African Americans' right to vote. (17) Throughout the 1830s state and municipal legislators strengthened 18th-century statutes limiting black Philadelphians' rights to free assembly. (18) This repression intensified in several significant 19th-century social shifts. When the large-scale Irish immigration of the 1820s and 1830s brought Irish and African Americans into competition for jobs, the result was anti-African American riots in which city officials often failed to intervene, despite disproportionately high black casualty rates. (19) Riots also erupted periodically throughout the 1830s and 1840s in response to local African Americans' public embrace of abolitionist causes. (20) By the 1850s, such events--along with black Philadelphians' increasing relegation to service industries in a city that now reserved skilled and industrial jobs for European immigrants--had created what Theodore Hershberg and the Philadelphia Social History Project (PSHP) describe as a "context of decline." (21)
Yet, this was also a period in which the city's African Americans engaged in what Julie Winch has termed "a struggle for autonomy," banding together to form social and political institutions that, as Hershberg and the PSHP explain, provided both communal protection and opportunities for modest progress. (22) Winch argues that black Philadelphians advanced through a mixed strategy of activism and accommodation--a theory that mirrors W. E. B. Du Bois's argument that antebellum African Americans combined political agitation with the formation of community-based organizations. (23) The city's black leaders joined forces with abolitionist Quakers in 1826 to demand the return of the kidnapped children; by 1833, this association had evolved into the American Anti-Slavery Society. (24) Similarly, in 1830 the city's black secular and religious leaders inaugurated the national black convention movement, following the increased attacks on free blacks in northern cities and states. (25) As studies by V. P. Franklin, Linda M. Perkins, and Theodore Hershberg have found, black Philadelphians organized numerous self-help campaigns and institutions throughout the antebellum era. (26) Mutual benefit and benevolent societies, many of them church-based, assisted the city's constant influx of fugitives, voiced local opposition to pro-slavery legislation, and worked for the abolition of slavery itself. (27) Such activism placed antebellum black Philadelphians "at the political and cultural forefront of several national movements" to secure full citizenship rights for enslaved and free African Americans alike. (28) By the late 1850s the perception that black Philadelphians comprised the vanguard in U.S. African Americans' struggles for social and political change led some national leaders to view them as "the elite of our people." (29)
Within this atmosphere of social activism, black Philadelphians and their allies also remained mindful of the medico-scientific theories used to justify limitations on black civil rights. Several initiatives addressed the problem directly. When coalitions of African Americans and Quakers agitated for the restoration of black suffrage during the 1830s and 1840s, they often conducted sophisticated social surveys to challenge ethnological claims of African American physiological 'unfitness" for citizenship. (30) These studies sought to quantify and contextualize the alleged black squalor and vice that, municipal officials argued, threatened the social fabric of the entire city. (31) The painstakingly collected evidence of these "Quaker studies" indicated that black Philadelphians' allegedly inherent predisposition to poor health habits and anti-social behaviors owed more to socioeconomic hardship than to physiological deficiency. (32) However, these studies did little to change pervasive attitudes that linked African American physiological and civic shortcomings. (33)
AFRICAN AMERICANS, SMALLPOX, AND VACCINATION IN ANTEBELLUM PHILADELPHIA
Black vaccination practices melded these physiological and political concerns, as vaccination was a practice that allowed the individual to prevent the communal spread of disease by safeguarding his or her own personal health. John Redman Coxe had brought smallpox vaccination to Philadelphia in 1802, six years after English physician Edward Jenner's 1796 development of the technique. (34) Smallpox vaccination, which entailed scratching small amounts of matter from the pustules of non-fatal cowpox disease into the skin of a healthy person in order to confer a limited period of immunity to smallpox, was the sole form of vaccination extant until Louis Pasteur developed a vaccine against rabies in 1885. (35) Thus, until the late 19th century, smallpox was the only disease that individuals, often at the urging of municipal governments, could control through vaccination.
Black Philadelphians claimed a long tradition of civic engagement in public health activities, most notably the relief work that Absalom Jones and Richard Allen had conducted during the devastating yellow fever epidemic of 1793 and chronicled a year later in a celebrated narrative. (36) Similarly, African Americans lad unique ties to smallpox vaccination, as enslaved Africans from some regions of the continent had arrived in North America with knowledge of smallpox inoculation ("variolation"). (37) Smallpox vaccination's antecedent inoculation involved scratching matter from the pustules of a mild case of smallpox into the skin of a healthy person to provide lifelong immunity. While historians disagree as to how widespread the practice of inoculation was among Africans both at home and in the New World, evidence from the 17th century indicates that enslaved Africans in the West Indies were practicing inoculation, and confirms the account of the African named Onesimus who introduced an inoculation method to Boston clergyman and physician Cotton Mather in 1721. (38) Mather's subsequent treatise, which drew parallels between Onesimus's contribution and the "Turkish variolation" introduced to the Royal Society of London in 1714, helped make inoculation a popular, if controversial, technique that reached Philadelphia in 1730. (39)
While Mather and his early 18th-century colleagues debated the nature and extent of Africans' knowledge of inoculation, by the beginning of the 19th-century African American involvement in the development of smallpox prophylaxis had all but disappeared from scientific discourse. (40) Indeed, some mid-19th-century physicians counted smallpox susceptibility among the medical gauges of African American physiological inferiority. South Carolina physician William Michel maintained that African Americans were more likely than whites to contract smallpox. (41) Michel also argued that smallpox was less likely to prove fatal in African Americans than in whites. (42) He asserted that vaccination itself was effective over shorter periods in African Americans than in whites, with the former requiring revaccination, and thus needing to demonstrate the civic responsibility of seeking it out at shorter intervals than whites. (43) Conceding that readers outside the South night dismiss his observations as part of the region's purportedly "backward" approach to science and medicine, Michel asserted that he had grounded his work in the most sophisticated science of the day, and called upon the "advanced" scientists in the North to consider the subject of black smallpox propensities and reactions to vaccination more closely. (44)
Philadelphia conducted such analysis on a yearly basis, in a racially inscribed section of each annual report of the Philadelphia Board of Health. With smallpox endemic in Philadelphia well before the end of the 18th century, small to moderate epidemics had become a regular feature by the 1820s. (45) While large and lengthy outbreaks like the one that engulfed several sections of the city in 1823 and 1824 commanded attention, the smaller epidemics that recurred regularly throughout the antebellum period were usually confined to just a few districts, going largely unremarked within public health records and mainstream press accounts alike. (46) Because information about these localized outbreaks was still rarer within the evidentiary record for African Americans, historians know little about how black Philadelphians fared during these public health crises. (47) Thus, archival records from the annual report's smallpox studies offer one of the few available sources of information about smaller-scale smallpox events and any differential racial and ethnic impact. (48)
Unfortunately, suspect methodologies tainted the annual report's data on smallpox among African Americans. The Quaker-sponsored surveys of living conditions drew upon data collected in canvasses of black Philadelphians' own neighborhoods. However, the board of health's ethnic vaccination assessments relied upon counts of the African American, Irish, German, and "native-born white" smallpox patients admitted to the Municipal Hospital for Contagious Diseases, known as "Municipal Hospital" or "City Hospital." (49) Based upon these hospital headcounts, the board of health's annual report made yearly assessments that drew general conclusions about each group's citywide rates of smallpox morbidity and mortality, as well as each ethnicity's rates of vaccination compliance.
In Silent Travelers: Germs, Genes, and the "Immigrant Menace," Alan M. Kraut has demonstrated that extrapolating conclusions about ethnic health and disease rates from the admissions records of large municipal hospitals, a common analytical strategy among antebellum boards of health in northeastern cities, generated flawed statistics that nonetheless became indelible characterizations of the health of Irish Americans and other groups. (50) The Philadelphia Board of Health's assessments of African American vaccination rates showed a parallel effect. The board's annual reports not only used two sets of smallpox admission records to contextualize African Americans' citywide vaccination rates and attitudes, but also applied this method to several decades of data.
This was apparent in the retrospective analyses of thirty years of smallpox rates that Dr. John Bell, head physician of Municipal Hospital, contributed to the board of health's annual reports as part of the city's official smallpox record for 1861. (51) In this document Bell presented statistics from Municipal Hospital records dating from the 1830s and 1840s, but noted that some hospital records for the years from 1820 through 1839 and from 1840 through 1858 had been lost. (52) Bell reported both high rates of smallpox infection and serious vaccination deficiencies among black Philadelphians. (53) Focusing upon fewer than 200 patients admitted to Municipal Hospital during small-scale epidemics in 1841 and 1846, Bell assessed the numbers of African American patients admitted with varioloid, the mild expression of smallpox that individuals whose vaccinations had lapsed contracted, and those admitted with variola, the deadlier expression of smallpox that appeared in those who had never been vaccinated. (54) Then, he compared the numbers of African Americans with each variety of smallpox to those of native-born white, and Irish and German patients.
While Bell conceded that all four groups tended to avoid vaccination unless epidemics were underway, he argued that the data nonetheless revealed propensities unique to African Americans--who were, he concluded, more likely to contract smallpox than other ethnic groups. (55) They were also at once more likely to have allowed past vaccinations to lapse and less likely to have been vaccinated. (56) For Bell, such statistics were not surprising, but instead reflected commonplaces about African Americans and vaccination compliance. In his analysis of the 1841 epidemic, he wrote that black Philadelphians had been admitted to Municipal Hospital with "both varieties" of smallpox at a rate that not only "exceed[ed] that met with in the whites," but that were "of course out of all proportion to the rat[io] of the blacks to the entire population." (57) He drew similar conclusions when he compared these 1841 figures to the number of African Americans admitted to Municipal Hospital with smallpox during the 1846 epidemic, noting that "[i]n both years the black cases exceeded the white ones, but in a still greater proportion in 1846." (58) Such figures, Bell wrote, were not only consistent with the rates of smallpox and lack of vaccination that he and his staff had observed and recorded in 1860 and 1861, but also reflected his personal observations from the 1850s, but including the years for which records were missing. (59) Thus, the city not only based its official reckoning of African American vaccination compliance and propensities upon Municipal Hospital patient counts in 1861, but also did so in ways that established conclusions about previous decades. In the board of health's estimation, then, black Philadelphians had shown signs of indifference to vaccination throughout the antebellum period.
SMALLPOX AND VACCINATION IN AFRICAN AMERICAN DISCOURSE
No such indifference was evident in antebellum abolitionist and African American periodicals. Indeed, the newspapers and other publications that contributed to the emerging black print culture and enjoyed the widest circulation among black Philadelphians from the 1820s through the 1850s politicized smallpox and actively promoted vaccination. Historians Nancy Leys Stepan and Sander Gilman have demonstrated that 19th-century black writers and newspaper publishers often harnessed science and medicine in order to promote the cause of African American civil rights. (60) Similarly, Terra Ziporyn has argued that close readings of newspaper accounts provide historians with a uniquely revealing window into the public understanding of disease and prevention. (61) Such close readings offer valuable insights into the discursive strategies that framed smallpox prevention as an integral part of black print culture's ongoing emphasis on the cause of African American citizenship, through content that elucidated vaccination's scientific mechanisms and historical development, availability to free persons, and significance as the hallmark of civic duty.
This material appeared in a wide range of sources, which African Americans absorbed in varied ways. Any consideration of the print culture that antebellum black Philadelphians consumed must include the many nationally circulating periodicals popular in the city. (62) These included Freedom's Journal, the nation's first African American newspaper, in the late 1820s; the Liberator in the 1830s; the North Star in the 1840s and 1850s; and the Frederick Douglass Paper in the 1850s. (63) Some of these national publications maintained central editorial offices in Philadelphia for months or years during the antebellum period. For example, the Colored American, a nationally circulating weekly newspaper based in New York and published between 1837 and 1842, shifted production to Philadelphia from June 1838 through July 1839. (64)
The city was also home to a wide array of its own permanent publications. Periodicals founded and published in Philadelphia that contributed to black print culture included the African Observer, published between April 1827 and March 1828; and the Colonization Herald and General Register from 1837 to 1863. The National Enquirer and Constitutional Advocate of Universal Liberty (renamed in 1838 the Pennsylvania Freeman when it became the official newspaper of the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society) was published from 1836 through 1854. (65) Other popular titles were the Covenanter, produced from 1845 through the 1890s; the National Reformer, published by William Whipper and the American Moral Reform Society from 1838 through the 1840s; and the Non-Slaveholder, which appeared from 1846 through 1854. (66) Foremost among these was the Christian Recorder, which began publication in 1852 under the auspices of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and quickly became the most widely read black periodical in the city. (67) By the end of the Civil War, and during the editorships of Anthony L. Stanford and Elisha Weaver, it also had a large national circulation. (68) With the exception of the Christian Recorder, most of these Philadelphia titles left incomplete records to posterity. For example, articles from the Demosthenian Shield--the weekly newspaper that the Demosthenian Institute, an African American literary society, published from 1841 through the 1850s--survive chiefly through references and reprints published in other sources. (69) Yet the extant archival presence of these publications, taken with the national publications also popular among African Americans in the city, is rich enough to provide penetrating insights into the issues and ideas engaging black Philadelphians in the period.
Indeed, these print sources found an eager audience in Philadelphia, as the early intervention of white antislavery reformers and black church congregations had ensured high African American literacy rates. (70) The city's network of black churches and civic clubs made literacy attainment a high priority for the newly manumitted and fugitive slaves who flooded into the city throughout the antebellum period. (71) While illiteracy certainly persisted, especially among the newly free, Philadelphia's African American churches and literary societies observed a tradition of holding public readings of newspapers, journals, and significant broadsides, allowing non-literate African Americans to "hear" written reports of current events and cultural trends. (72) Such weekly readings facilitated the free flow of important information. (73) Thus, abolitionist and black newspapers could aim their contents at both the literate and the illiterate and reach each group, promoting the mass dispersal of ideas. (74)
Historians have long argued that the print culture disseminated through these means focused not only on black civil rights, but also upon a concomitant desire to present African Americans in the best light possible--particularly with regard to intellectual prowess. (75) While literary historian Frances Smith Foster agrees that black periodicals were mindful of rehabilitating the black image among outside observers, she also argues that the primary goal was to present material that uplifted and enlightened African Americans themselves. (76) Foster maintains that this print culture did engage a wide range of subjects--from politics and art to health and science--through the lens of African Americans' quest for citizenship, but did so less to project black worthiness to the outside world than to promote the knowledge and practices associated with citizenship and Christian practice to African American audiences. (77)
Sources from antebellum Philadelphia support Foster's interpretation. In 1827 the first issue of the African Observer explained that the developments in science and political philosophy that would be mainstays in subsequent issues of the monthly journal were intended to inform African American readers and not to edify the larger public. (78) Such distinctions were sensible since "improvements in political and physical science" had yet to quell the American mainstream's embrace of slavery. (79) Similarly, in a widely reprinted 1841 article, the editors of the Demosthenian Shield explained that the scientific, legal, and other intellectual content that appeared in the newspaper was presented to enrich black readers, not acquit them in the eyes of the wider world. After all, while it was true that "if there is any one trait in the character of colored Americans that should elevate them in the opinion of all civilized nations, it is the love of learning," it was also true that repression often kept the community outside of the newspaper's black readership from recognizing such accomplishments.
When one finds among this people, men of liberal education; men of talent who would shine even at the Philadelphia bar; men versed in the writings of the ancients, and in the languages of the moderns, one naturally asks, what incentive have they had for prosecuting that study necessary to arrive at this state of improvement? What object have they had in view? For it is evident, that there are no situations here that a man of color can make lucrative by means of his talents only; for there is no honor in store "for him whose skin is embrowned," let his faculties be as brilliant as they may. (80)
Because the accolades of the white world were so unsure, African Americans' best "incentive" to pursue the intellectual accomplishments and civic commitments essential to "improvement" was the betterment of themselves and their communities. (81) As Foster notes, "[t]he African American press owed as much, if not more, to the desire to create a positive and purposeful self-identified African America as to any defensive gestures responding to racist attacks and libel." (82)
Throughout the antebellum period, the print culture that black Philadelphians created and consumed used a variety of discursive strategies to promote vaccination as a key feature in these efforts to "create a positive and purposeful African America." The abolitionist press often depicted vaccination as a scientific advance that the intelligent and civically responsible would readily embrace. In the 1830s the editors of the Liberator said of smallpox: "Is it not remarkable that this scourge of the human race should be suffered to gain a foothold among us, when it is so easy a matter to keep it at a distance?" (83) While the newspaper speculated about preventives other than vaccination--reporting, for example, that chloride of lime might be sufficient to keep visitors to the sickrooms of smallpox patients from contracting the disease--it also attempted to reassure readers that vaccination was a safe practice that would not itself cause the disease. (84) "Dr. Fansher, of Connecticut," the editors reported, "says that after twenty years' experience, during which he has vaccinated ninety-seven thousand people, he has put many hundreds of them to the test of the small pox infection, without being able to produce a single symptom of that terrible disease." (85)
In another promotion strategy, the black press often valorized physicians who conducted vaccination. After Philadelphia physician Joseph Nancrede's mass vaccinations quelled the epidemics in 1823 and 1824, Freedom's Journal applauded his work as a "notable scientific achievement" in which he had "vaccinated 1,724 during the last year." (86) At other times, the newspapers defended vaccination's pioneers against those who opposed their efforts, describing detractors as foes of progress. As the North Star noted in 1848, "When Jenner, anxious to save humanity from one of its most grievous and most prevailing scourges, labored unweariedly [sic] to bring into universal application his world-blessing discovery of vaccination, the bugbears were let loose upon him: he was a blasphemer and a counteracter [sic] of the laws of Providence--an infidel and a freethinker!" (87) A later issue of the North Star went still further, criticizing the shortsighted members of the Royal College of Physicians to whom Jenner had originally presented his discovery. "Jenner, who introduced ... vaccination, was treated with ridicule and contempt, persecuted and oppressed by the Royal College of Physicians; yet he subsequently received large pecuniary grants from government for the benefit he had conferred on his country, by making known his valuable discovery; and at the present time its observance is very properly enjoined by the whole medical profession and the legislature." (88)
The North Star also urged readers to take part in annual efforts to celebrate Jenner's discovery in their own communities. (89) Such commemoration was necessary because "wonders, like those achieved by ... vaccination, might be dwelt upon almost indefinitely." (90) The Frederick Douglass Paper even encouraged its readers to contribute to a campaign to create a permanent memorial to Jenner in his home country, explaining, "Efforts are afoot in Boston and its vicinity to collect funds towards the erection of a bronze statue of Dr. Jenner in London, in honor of his great discovery of vaccination." (91) Similarly, an 1852 Pennsylvania Freeman essay likened contemporary resistance to the medical use of chloroform to early rejection of "Jenner's discovery," arguing that the "indelible disgrace" of such ongoing refusal to embrace "progress" gave testament to the need to safeguard Jenner's legacy. (92)
In addition to promoting vaccination as a "medical wonder" that the intelligent, cultured, and responsible embraced, the practice was represented in black print culture as one of the emblems of freedom--and, conversely, smallpox as the mark of slavery. At times, these depictions were merely metaphorical iterations of the tendency in abolitionist rhetoric to present slavery as what African Observer editor Enoch Lewis, writing in 1827, termed a "dire disease, deeply infixed in our national system." (93) The abolitionist press sometimes characterized southern smallpox outbreaks as divine retribution against the system of slavery, a rhetorical construct that eminent clergyman George Whitefield had first popularized in the 18th century. (94) In other instances, abolitionist newspapers worked to counter pro-slavery polemicists' tactic of comparing abolitionism to smallpox. In 1831 the editors of the Liberator rebutted a letter from the editors of South Carolina's pro-slavery Charleston Mercury that charged: "It is unquestionably true ... that every man has a right to advocate abolition. It is also the right and privilege of every man to take, and to have ... small pox, or any other malignant, or pestilential, or infectious disease; but we have laws to prevent his spreading the pestilence among his neighbors." (95) For the editors of the Liberator, it was discursive support for slavery that evoked smallpox: the arguments of a noted, pro-slavery public speaker were "pestiferous exhalations" that "should meet a more decided repulsion than the direful effluvia of cholera or small pox." (96) Such metaphors appeared even more frequently in the 1850s, as national debates over the future of slavery grew more passionate. In 1854 and 1855, articles reprinted in the Frederick Douglass Paper used smallpox contagion analogies to characterize the increasingly popular arguments that slavery was acceptable if it was "quarantined" within certain regions of the United States, and that questions of profit should determine slavery's spread to additional territories. (97)
The abolitionist and black press did not limit the associations of smallpox and slavery to rhetorical devices. Instead, these publications drew explicit connections between the spread of smallpox and the poor material conditions and inconsistent access to vaccination that slavery imposed. An 1827 Freedom's Journal article cited a smallpox outbreak among 1,360 enslaved Sierra Leoneans aboard a Spanish flotilla as evidence that the manifold evils of the slave trade were increasing. (98) That this smallpox epidemic, combined with rampant dysentery, had been severe enough to prompt the Spanish government to seize and condemn the ships off the coast of Cape Formosa indicated the end that should befall slavery itself: people of goodwill should abolish a system that perpetuated such deadly scourges. (99) Such characterizations of the ways that slavery inhibited smallpox prevention and palliative care persisted through the 1830s, finding causes celebres in new instances of brutality toward enslaved smallpox victims. In 1831 several issues of the Liberator told variations of the quarantine experience of an enslaved child: "A [N]egro girl had the small-pox in Nashville, and she was put up in a third story of an old steam-mill near town, and was recovering. The building has been destroyed by fire, and the [N]egro girl with it. It is supposed to be the work of design!" (100)
In a subsequent issue summarizing "events which have taken place in the several slave states ... during the present year," the Liberator's editors recalled this case of the "black girl, afflicted with the small pox," who was "burnt to death (supposed purposely) in a lone building" as one of those that was "sufficiently dreadful" to illustrate the "deprivations and sorrows and sins" of slavery. (101) Other articles illustrated that past privations in smallpox prevention for the enslaved might later bring slaveholders increased profits. An essay in an 1838 issue of the Philadelphia National Enquirer demonstrated that the lifelong immunity that previous smallpox infection conferred increased a slave's market value--so that an "owner" seeking to "sell" a "Negro girl, 20 years of age" enumerated her salable attributes as her domestic and nursing skills, her "generating qualities," and her status as a smallpox survivor. (102)
With vaccination becoming more popular among southern slaveholders from the 1840s onward, the abolitionist and black press continued to stress that the enslaved exercised little control over it, as access to the practice was still the arbitrary decision of "owners." (103) Black print culture had long emphasized that enslavement divested slaves of bodily autonomy and made their physical welfare dependent upon slaveholders' whims and financial circumstances. As an 1827 African Observer article explained: "[Slaves] have ... no protection for their persons; they exist at the will and caprice of a master, who is not amenable to any law for his ill treatment of them, and who may slaughter them at his pleasure. He has, in truth, very little interest in [slaves'] preservation, having no means of employing them in profitable labor, and when provisions are scarce, he even has a strong incentive to destroy them." (104) Within this framework, vaccination was but one of the ministrations that "owners" embraced because it safeguarded their "property" at low cost. (105) Thus, in an 1848 North Star article, Henry Richardson, a fugitive slave who had escaped to England, listed vaccination among the provisions of his enslaved experience. "There was no marrying among the slaves on the plantations; breeding was discouraged; it was cheaper and less troublesome to buy than to breed," he recalled. "Religious instruction and medical aid were not carried out generally beyond baptism and vaccination." (106)
In addition to presenting slave vaccination as a grudging expedient, African American newspaper accounts of the 1840s and 1850s illustrated that smallpox care for the enslaved easily coexisted with physical abuse. In the celebrated narrative by Solomon Northup, reprinted in the Frederick Douglass Paper in 1853, Northup, a free New Yorker, described how he was kidnapped from a Washington, DC, hotel and sold into slavery, and received hospital care for smallpox within the context of several weeks of physical tortures.
[H]e found himself chained to the floor of WILLIAMS' slave pen. ... In the course of a few hours, JAMES H. BURCH, a slave dealer, came in. ... [Northup] said he was free and told where he was born. ... Burch whipped him with a paddle until he broke that, and then with a cat-o'-nine-tails, giving him a hundred lashes, and he swore he would kill him if he ever stated to anyone that he was a free man. ... [W]ith forty-eight others [he] was put on board the brig Orleans. ... The brig sailed for New Orleans, and on arriving there, before she was fastened to the wharf, Theophilus Freeman ... received the slaves as they were landed. ... [Northup] was immediately taken by Freeman and shut up in his pen in that city. He was taken sick with the small-pox immediately after getting there, and was sent to a [quarantine] Hospital where he lay two or three weeks. (107)
Akin to the story of the smallpox-stricken child burned alive to keep her disease from spreading, the excerpted narratives of Richardson and Northup demonstrated that smallpox prevention and care were capricious within a system that left elective health decisions not to the enslaved, but to those who "owned" them. Thus, the antebellum black press consistently presented vaccination status and general smallpox prevention as elements of life--like marriage and reproduction--over which the enslaved had little agency. The contrast between slaves' lack of smallpox prevention options and those available to free African Americans was clear and striking. Although black vaccination experiences in Philadelphia were not without problems associated with discrimination, the city's African Americans could decide whether or not to be vaccinated, and could assert some control over the conditions in which they received vaccination. (108) Black journalists and publishers encouraged these Philadelphians to choose vaccination, doing so not only through scientific, historical, and civic arguments about the practice, but also through articles that reminded the free that their enslaved compatriots did not share their autonomy.
While vaccination promotion in the antebellum black press was hortatory, appealing to readers' sense of communal duty in culturally resonant ways, such appeals became even more direct after the Civil War began. With the social and financial systems that supported southern slavery at last under direct military assault--and with the mustering of troops in camps on the outskirts of Philadelphia seeding concentrated smallpox outbreaks in the city's environs--the black press began to promote vaccination with both new urgency and increased emphasis upon civic duty. (109) The association of smallpox with slavery persisted, now reflecting the additional concern of smallpox prevention among the growing ranks of the newly freed arriving in the city. (110) Similarly, depictions of vaccination as the province of the cultured, intelligent, and scientifically sophisticated also remained constant, and articles featuring scientific opinion about smallpox prevention and nursing care, vaccination statistics, and disease causality continued to stress both intellectual attainment and the willingness to fight disease. (111) However, these elements now appeared in the service of the intensified appeals to civic duty that characterized black print culture's Civil War-era vaccination promotion. When Elisha Weaver, editor of the Christian Recorder, urged African Americans to have their children vaccinated, he grounded his argument in tandem discussions of the science of pediatric vaccination, the backwardness of those ignorant of or afraid of proper smallpox prevention, and the individual's duty to family and community:
Let me put you in mind, seriously, of one thing you ought to get done to all your children, and that is, to have them vaccinated. The best time for this is two months after birth, but better late than never, and in these times you need never have any excuse for its not being done. ... It is a real crime, I think, in parents to neglect this. It is cruel to their child, and it is a crime to file public. If every child in the world were vaccinated, which might be managed in a few years, that loathsome and deadly disease, the small-pox, would disappear from the face of the earth; but many people are so stupid, and so lazy, and so prejudiced, as to neglect this plain duty, till they find to their cost it is too late. (112)
The start of the Civil War had made the prospect of nationwide black citizenship a more realistic hope than ever before, heightening the larger world's scrutiny of African Americans even as it placed the realization of civil rights within reach. Thus, actions that demonstrated and inculcated civic engagement and the other qualities of citizenship were even more important. The formerly enslaved African Americans who made their way to Union Army camps--and whom many black Philadelphians went south to aid--were a special focus for the combined uplift and civic tutelage that characterized the era's vaccination discourse. (113) Elisha Weaver and the Christian Recorder's correspondents often drew parallels between smallpox prevention measures for the formerly enslaved and the efforts of northern African American reformers to promote literacy and self-improvement among them. (114) Similarly, following the Union Army's 1863 admission of African American volunteers and the deployment of the first Philadelphia-area black regiments from Camp William Penn, Weaver also devoted considerable attention to smallpox outbreaks and vaccination access among African American troops. (115) Even when home-front lapses in municipal vaccination provision inhibited their access to familiar vaccination options, black Philadelphians' print discourse consistently encouraged and promoted the practice. (116) With citizenship so close, continued support for one of its key municipal emblems was imperative.
The scientific and political concerns that converged in antebellum African American vaccination meshed well with black print culture's preoccupation with appropriate citizenship behaviors. For black Philadelphians, this was an especially crucical enterprise during a period of economic, social, and political decline. Vaccination promotion was part of a dominant discourse that not only demonstrated African Americans' intellectual abilities and civic engagement, but also offered information that equipped them to make informed social decisions--including decisions about health. As an individual contribution to the public's health, smallpox vaccination was uniquely well suited to a black discourse in which improvement was both an individual and a collective duty. Similarly, as a practice that married medical understanding and civic engagement, smallpox vaccination was a potent symbol for a population that municipal officials often accused of both physiological inferiority and civic irresponsibility. At the same time, vaccination took on special cultural significance for African Americans because of smallpox's association with slavery. As a result, antebellum black discourse presented vaccination as an emblem of both scientific understanding and freedom.
That these links between vaccination and African Americans' collective hopes for political progress emerged nearly 200 years before "Vote and Vax 2008" vaccinated record numbers of black voters is instructive. Indeed, discursive positioning of vaccination within larger African American cultural and political concerns is not limited to the antebellum period, but instead forms part of a historical continuum. Black newspapers contextualized vaccination in the language of the New Negro movement in the 1910s and 1920s, and within the discourses of Black Power in the 1960s and 1970s. (117) Thus, the appeal to African Americans' collective political advancement that made "Vote and Vax 2008" a successful vaccination campaign has significant precedent in African American history and culture.
Archival research for this project was made possible through research grants from the College of Physicians of Philadelphia (CPP), the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, (HSP), and the Library Company of Philadelphia (LCP). The author also grate fully acknowledges the kind assistance of archivists at the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection (CLBAAC), the City Archives of Philadelphia (CAP), Houghton Library (HL) and the Andover-Harvard Theological Library (AHTL) at Harvard University, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (SCRBC), and the African American Newspapers and Periodicals Collection of the Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS), as well as the staff of Accessible Archives, Inc. (AA).
(1) Dayle B. DeLancey, "Piercing the 'Veil': Reading the African American Experience of Smallpox Vaccination in Philadelphia, 1823-1923," Ph.D. Thesis. University of Manchester, UK, 2007; Harriet A. Washington, Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present (New York. 2006); Amy L. Fairchild and Ronald Bayer, "Uses and Abuses of Tuskegee," Science 284.5416 (1999): 919-21; Vanessa N. Gamble, "Under the Shadow of Tuskegee: African Americans and Health Care," American Journal of Public Health 87.11 (1997): 1773-1778; Centers for Disease Control (CDC), "Intent to Receive Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 Monovalent and Seasonal Influenza Vaccines--Two Counties, North Carolina. August 2009," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 58.50 (2009): 1401-14(15; CDC, "National, State, and Local Area Vaccination Coverage Among Children Aged 19-35 Months--United States, 2008," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 58.33 (2009): 921-926; CDC, "National, State, and Local Area Vaccination Coverage Among Adolescents Aged 13-17 Years--United States, 2008," Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 58.36 (2009): 997-1001; G. L. Luler, P. Lu, and J. A. Singleton, "Vaccination Coverage Among U.S. Adults: National Immunization Survey--Adult, 2007," Centers for Disease Control, 26 March 2008, http://www.cdc.gov/Vaccines/stats-surv/nis/downloads/nis-adult-summer-2007.txt (accessed 25 March 2010); Susan Y. Chu, Lawrence E. Barker, and Philip J. Smith, "Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Preschool Immunizations: United Slates, 1996-2001," American Journal of Public Health 94.6 (2004): 973-977; Lawrence E. Barker, Susan Y. Chu, et al., "Disparities Between While and African American Children in Immunization Coverage," Journal of the National Medical Association 98.2 (2006): 130-135; and Leonard E. Egede and Deyi Zheng, "Racial/Ethnic Differences in Influenza Vaccination Coverage in High-Risk Adults." American Journal of Public Health 93.12 (2003): 2074-8.
(2) See J. Gabriel Rendon and Joan Clayton-Davis, "Culturally Appropriate Interventions to Increase Adult Immunization Rates Among African American and Hispanic Seniors," presented at the 39th National Immunization Conference, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta, Georgia, 21 March 2005; "Immunization Gap, Desire to Boost Rates Spur PROS Studies," American Academy of Pediatrics News 23 (2003): 224; National Medical Association Adult Immunization Consensus Panel, "Adult Immunizations: increasing Immunization Rates Among African American Adults," National Medical Association Consensus Paper, June 1999, http://nmanet.org/images/uploads/09 IMMUNIZATION2.pdf (accessed 25 March 2010); David Wood, Neal Halfon, et al., "Increasing Immunization Rates Among Inner-City, African American Children: A Randomized Trial of Case Management," Journal of the American Medical Association 279.1 (1998): 29-34; Mark A. Schuster, David L. Wood, et al., "Utilization of Well-Child Care Services for African American Infants in a Low-Income Community: Results of a Randomized, Controlled Case Management/Home Visitation Intervention," Pediatrics 101.6(1998): 999-1005; and David Wood, Mark Schuster, et al., "Reducing Missed Opportunities to Vaccinate During Child Health Visits: Mow Effective Are Parent Education and Case Management?" Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine 152.3 (1998): 238 243.
(3) Douglas Shenson, "One Person, One Dose," New York Times, 26 October 2009, 23; "Convenience Is Key to Adult Flu Vaccinations: Vote & Vax Clinics Across the United States Will Increase Phi Vaccination Rates," Press Release, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 15 October 2008, http://www.rwjf.org/vulnerablepopulations/product.jsp?id=35693 (accessed 25 March 2010).
(4) Shenson and Mary Adams, "The "Vote and Vax" Program: Public Health at Polling Places," Journal of Public-Health Management and Practice 14.5 (2008): 476-480.
(5) Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), "Vote & Vax 2008," Report, 15 January 2008, http://www.rwjf.org/vulunerablepopulation/product.jsp?id=25171 (accessed 25 March 2010).
(6) "Vote & Vax Is Counting Down to Election Day: Clinics Across the United States Will Boost Flu Vaccination Rates on November 4, 2008," Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 27 October 2008, http://www.rwjf.org/vulnerablepopulations/product.jsp?id=35648 (accessed 25 March 2010) and CNN, "Cast a Vote, Get Vaccinated, Nonprofit Urges," 29 October 2008, http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/10/29/vote.flu.shot/index.html (accessed 25 March 2010).
(7) RWJF, "National Influenza Vaccine Summit Recognizes SPARC for the Success of the Vote & Vax 2008 Program," 30 March 2009, http://www.rwjf.org/vulunerablepopulations/product.jsp?id=40588 (accessed 25 March 2010).
(8) Lynda Flowers, Shelly-Ann Sinclair, and Carlos Figueiredo, "Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Influenza and Pneumococcal Immunization Rates Among Medicare Beneficiaries," American Association of Retired Persons Public Policy Institute, 10 March 2010, http://asscts.aarp.org/rgecenter/ppi/health-care/i12r-flu.pdf?q=medicares-coverage-of-the-hlnl-flu-vaccine (accessed 25 March 2010); Ellyn Micco, Andrea G. Gurmankin, and Katrina Armstrong, "Differential Willingness to Undergo Smallpox Vaccination Among African American and White Individuals," Journal of General Internal Medicine 19.5 (2004): 451-455.
(9) Shenson, "One Person, One Dose." For a recent example of fruitful application of historical context to present-day vaccination issues, see Alexandra Minna Stern and Howard Markel, "The History of Vaccines and Immunization: Familiar Patterns, New Challenges." Health Affairs 24.3 (2005): 611-621.
(10) For explorations of the role of civic and communal responsibility in vaccination promotion and policy, see Jacob Heller, The Vaccine Narrative (Nashville, TN, 2008), 10-12; Arthur Allen, Vaccine: The Controversial Story of Medicines Greatest Lifesaver (New York, 2007), 15; James Colgrove, State of Immunity: The Polities of Vaccination in Twentieth-Century America (Berkeley, CA, 2006). 3-6 and 9; and Colgrove and Ronald Bayer, "Manifold Restraints: Liberty, Public Health, and the Legacy of Jacobson v. Massachusetts," American Journal of Public Health 95.4 (2005): 571-576.
(11) Ceci Connolly, "Voting Can Give You a Real Shot in the Arm," Washington Post, 28 October 2008, HE05; Cape May County, "Cape May County Offers Flu Shots at Polling Sites," Press Release, 30 October 2008; Associated Press, "Some Alaska Residents Can Vote, Get Flu Shot," State and Regional, Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, 4 November 2008, http://www.newsminer.com (accessed 25 March 2010).
(12) DeLancey, "Piercing the 'Veil,'" 41-123.
(13) The primary antebellum example of such an assessment is a public address by abolitionist Frederick Douglass, later published as the pamphlet, The Claims of the Negro, Ethnologically Considered: An Address Before the Literary Societies of Western Reserve College, at Commencement. July 12, 1854 (Rochester, NY, 1854), LCP.
(14) Margaret Humphreys, Intensely Human: The Health of the Black Soldier in the American Civil War (Baltimore, MD, 2008), 12-13.
(15) W. E. B. Du Bois, "The Negro in Philadelphia, 1638-1820" and "The Negro in Philadelphia, 1820-1896" in The Philadelphia Negro (1899; reprt. Philadelphia, PA, 1999), 10-24 and 25-15; Edward Raymond Turner, The Negro in Pennsylvania: Slavery--Servitude--Freedom, 1639-1861 (New York, 1911), 25-51; Julie Winch, Philadelphia's Black Elite: Activism. Accommodation, and the Struggle for Autonomy, 1787-1848 (Philadelphia, PA, 1988), 7-18; Theodore Hershberg, "Free Blacks in Antebellum Philadelphia: A Study of Ex-Slaves, Freeborn, and Economic Decline" in African Americans in Pennsylvania: Sniffing Historical Perspectives, ed. Joe William Trotter, Jr., and Eric Ledell Smith (1971; reprt. University Park, PA, 1997), 123-147; and Gary B. Nash, Forging Freedom: The Formation of Philadelphia's Black Community, 1720-1840 (Cambridge, MA, 1988). Denise Dennis summarizes Du Bois's work and adds analysis of her own in "Introduction: Philadelphia's African American Community from the Seventeenth through the Nineteenth Centuries," A Century of Greatness, 1900-1999 (Philadelphia, PA, 2002), 8-14.
(16) "Kidnapping," African Observer 1-2 (1827): 37-39 and 43-47 (LCP); Carol Wilson, Freedom at Risk: The Kidnapping of Free Blacks in America, 1780-1865 (Lexington, KY, 1994), 58-62; T. J. Scharf and T. Westcott, History of Philadelphia, 1609-1884, vol. 1 (Philadelphia, PA, 1884), 617, HSP; Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), Africans in America Documentary Series, "Part II: Brotherly Love," 1999. For discussion of kidnappings of free blacks in earlier decades in Philadelphia, see Daniel Meaders, "Kidnapping Blacks in Philadelphia: Isaac Hopper's Tales of Oppression," The Journal of Negro History 80.2 (1995): 47-65.
(17) See Pennsylvania Supreme Court, "Negro Suffrage," July 1837 and Pennsylvania Supreme Court, "Negro Suffrage," Revised Constitution of Pennsylvania, Article 3, Section 1, July 1837, HSP.
(18) See Philadelphia City Councils, "Slave Tumults," Ordinance of 17 April 1732; Philadelphia City Councils, "Slave Tumults," Ordinance of 3 July 1738; and Philadelphia City Councils, "Tumults of Negroes," Ordinance of 17 August 1741, HSP.
(19) For a comprehensive overview, see Winch, "Political Change and Racial Violence, 1830-1848" in Philadelphia's Black Elite, 130-151. See also John Runcie, "'Hunting the Nigs' in Philadelphia: The Race Riot of August 1834," Pennsylvania History 39.2 (1972): 187-219; Elizabeth Geffen, "Violence in Philadelphia in the 1840s and 1850s," Pennsylvania History 36.4 (1969): 381-410; and John F. Quinn, "The Rise and Fall of Repeal: Slavery and Irish Nationalism in Antebellum Philadelphia," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, 130.1 (2006): 45-78.
(20) Turner, The Negro in Pennsylvania, 25-52 and 160-68; David Grimsted, American Mobbing, 1828-1865: Toward Civil War (New York, 2003), 46-68.
(21) Hershberg, "Free Blacks in Antebellum Philadelphia," 124-131.
(22) Ibid., Winch, Philadelphia's Black Elite, 1-3.
(23) Winch, Philadelphia's Black Elite.
(24) "Kidnapping," African Observer, 43-37 (LCP); Scharf and Westcott, History of Philadelphia, vol. 1, 617; PBS, Africans in America; Wilson, Freedom at Risk, 104-112; and William F. Cheek, Black Resistance Before the Civil War (London, 1970), 134-135; Edward Needles, An Historical Memoir of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery (Philadelphia, PA, 1848), 12, HSP. For a discussion of other African American Anti-slavery efforts in Philadelphia, see Janice Sumler-Lewis, "The Forten-Purvis Women of Philadelphia and the American Anti-Slavery Crusade," The Journal of Negro History 66.4 (1981-1982): 281-287.
(25) Winch, Elite of Our People, 91-107.
(26) Hershberg, "Free Blacks in Antebellum Philadelphia," 134-135. For more on the expression of the "self-help ethos" among antebellum Philadelphians, see V. P. Franklin, The Education of Black Philadelphia: The Social and Educational History of a Minority Community, 1900-1950 (Philadelphia, PA 1979), 10-69: Linda M. Perkins, "Quaker Beneficence and Black Control: The Institute for Colored Youth, 1837-1902," in New Perspectives on Black Educational History, ed. V.P. Franklin and James D. Anderson (Boston, MA, 1978), 19-44; and Fannie Jackson Coppin and the Institute for Colored Youth, 1865-1902 (Boston, MA, 1985); and Jacqueline Bacon, The Humblest May Stand Forth: Rhetoric. Empowerment, and Abolition (Columbia, SC, 2002), 23-24 and 175.
(27) Du Bois, The Philadelphia Negro, 25; Cheek, Black Resistance Before the Civil War, 134-35; Hershberg, "Free Blacks in Antebellum Philadelphia," 133-135; Winch, Philadelphia's Black Elite, 26-48; Dennis, "Philadelphia's African American Community," 8.
(28) Charles L. Blockson, Pennsylvania's Black History (Philadelphia, PA, 1975), 14.
(29) Winch, Elite of Our People, 1-2.
(30) When efforts to stop the passage of the anti-suffrage legislation failed (see Appeal of Forty Thousand Colored Citizens, Threatened with Disenfranchisement, to the People of Pennsylvania, Pamphlet, Philadelphia, 1838), the coalition's primary tactic became the publication of a series of pamphlets, reports, and short books designed to prove that black Philadelphians were socially, physically, and morally fit for civil rights and freedoms. See Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, The Present State and Condition of the Free People of Color, of the City of Philadelphia and Adjoining Districts (Philadelphia, PA, 1838); Needles, Ten Years' Progress, a Comparison of the State and Condition of the Colored People in the City and County of Philadelphia from 1837 to 1847 (Philadelphia, PA, 1849); Pennsylvania Society of Friends, A Statistical Inquiry into the Condition of the People of Color of the City and Districts of Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA, 1849), HSP.
(32) Ibid and Du Bois, The Philadelphia Negro, 3.
(33) See, for example, Dr. E. O. Emerson, "Vital Statistics of Philadelphia," American Journal of Medical Sciences (July 1848); Philadelphia Grand Jury, Mysteries and Miseries of Philadelphia ... A Sketch of the Condition of the Most Degraded Classes in the City (Philadelphia, PA, 1853); Benjamin C. Bacon, Statistics of the Colored People of Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA, 1856) and Statistics of the Colored People of Philadelphia with Statistics of Crime, 2d ed. (Philadelphia, PA, 1859), HSP.
(34) John Redman Coxe, Practical Observations on Vaccination or Inoculation of the Con-Pock (Philadelphia, PA, 1802) and Edward Jenner, The Three Original Publications on Vaccination Against Smallpox (London, 1798), CPP.
(35) John D. Fisher, Description of the Distinct, Confluent, and Inoculated Small Pox, Varioloid Disease, Cow Pox, and Chicken Pox (Boston, MA, 1829), 56; Nathaniel Chapman, Lectures on the More Important Eruptive Fevers, Haemorrhages, and Dropsies, and of Gout and Rheumatism, Delivered in the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA, 1844), 12; and Andrew Nebinger and the Philadelphia County Medical Society, Variola: Its Nature and Treatment (Read Before the Philadelphia County Medical Society, November, 1857) (1857; reprt. Philadelphia, PA, 1862), 17; Louis Pasteur, "Method for Preventing Rabies After a Bite," trans. D. Berg, in The Founders of Modern Medicine, ed. Elie Metchnikoff (1885; reprt. New York, 1939), 379-387, CPP.
(36) Absalom Jones and Richard Allen, A Narrative of the Proceedings of the Black People, During the Late Awful Calamity in Philadelphia in the Year 1793: And a Refutation of Some Censures. Thrown Upon Them in Some Late Publications (Philadelphia, PA, 1794).
(37) Cotton Mather, Some Account of What Is Said of Inoculating or Transplanting the Small Pox (Boston, MA, 1721), 9-10; Benjamin Colman, Some Observations on the New Method of Receiving the Small-Pox by Ingrafting or Inoculating ... (Boston, MA, 1721), 15-16 (HL). See also Eugenia W. Herbert, "Smallpox Inoculation in Africa," The Journal of African History 16.4 (1975): 542-548; Hopkins, The Greatest Killer: Smallpox in History (1983; reprt., Chicago. IL, 2002). 170-178.
(38) Mather, The Angel of Bethesda, ed. Gordon W. Jones (1724; reprt. Barre, MA, 1972), 107; Larry Stewart, "The Edge of Utility: Slaves and Smallpox in the Early Eighteenth Century," Medical History 29 (1985): 54-70; Dauril Alden and Joseph C. Miller "Out of Africa: The Slave Trade and Transmission of Smallpox to Brazil," The Journal of Interdisciplinary History 18.2 (1987): 210; Niklas Thode Jensen, "Safeguarding Slaves: Smallpox, Vaccination, and Governmental Health Policies Among the Enslaved Population in the Danish West Indies, 1803-1848," Bulletin of the History of Medicine 83.1 (2009): 99.
(39) Mather, Some Account of What Is Said of Inoculating, 1-10 and Emanuel Timonius, "An Account of the Procuring of the Small Pox by Incision ...," Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London 339 (1714): 72-82 (HL). See also John B. Blake, "The Inoculation Controversy in Boston: 1721-1722," The New England Quarterly 25.4 (1952): 489-506; Perry Miller, "The Judgment of the Smallpox," The New England Mind: From Colony to Province (Cambridge, MA, 1953), 345-366; Roslyn Stone Wolman, "A Tale of Two Colonial Cities: Inoculation Against Smallpox in Philadelphia and in Boston," Transactions and Studies of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia 45.4 (1978): 338-347.
(40) Mather, Some Observations on the New Method, 9-10; Colman, "Smallpox Inoculation in Africa," 15-16; and Margot Minardi, "The Barton Inoculation Controversy of 1721-1722." William and Mary Quarterly 61.1 (2004): 47-76; George L. Kittredge, "Some Lost Works of Cotton Mather," Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, October 1911-June 1912, vol. 43 (Boston, MA, 1912), 418-419 and 436-437, HL.
(41) William Michel, "Preface," The Carolina Journal of Medicine, Science, and Agriculture 1 (1825): 3, CPP.
(43) Ibid, 25. For Michel, the intervals between revaccination were also racially significant within sub-strata of whites, as he demonstrated in a lengthy note (pp. 27-28) detailing his "observation" that the Irish were more likely than other "races" to contract smallpox soon after a successful revaccination.
(44) Ibid, 3. For a discussion of antebellum southern science, see John Harley Warner, "The Idea of Southern Medical Distinctiveness: Medical Knowledge and Practice in the Old South," in Science and Medicine in the Old South, ed. Ronald L. Numbers and Todd L. Savitt (Baton Rouge, LA, 1989), 179-205.
(45) Elizabeth A. Fenn, Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82 (New York, 2001), 82-83 and Scharf and Westcott, History of Philadelphia, vol. 3, 1720, HSP.
(46) Scharf and Westcott, History of Philadelphia, and DeLancey, "Piercing the 'Veil,'" 41-123. For a good example of the local press's inconsistent reportage of small-scale epidemics, consider that the Public Ledger, one of Philadelphia's most popular mainstream newspapers, mentioned local smallpox outbreaks only five times during the 1840s (twice to reference a moderate epidemic in 1842): "Small-Pox." 23 January 1840, 2; "City Gleanings," 15 January 1842, 2; "Reprint of the Ladies Branch of the Benevolent Association of Philadelphia, 9th March 1842." 15 December 1842, 2; "Health Office, Philadelphia," 2 September 1843, 2; and "Local Affairs," 7 March 1849, 2, HSP. For a brief, national reference to the 1842 epidemic, see "It Is Said That the Small Pox Is Prevailing in Philadelphia," The Liberator, 7 January 1842, (Item #00023, AA).
(47) DeLancey, "Piercing the 'Veil,'" 41-82.
(49) John Bell, "Report of Dr. Bell, Hospital Physician," Report of the Board of Health of the City and Port of Philadelphia to the Mayor, for 1861 (Philadelphia, PA, 1862), 49 and 54, CAP.
(50) Alan M. Kraut, Silent Travelers: Germs, Genes, and the "Immigrant Menace" (Baltimore, MD, 1994), 38-39.
(51) Bell, "Report of Dr. Bell, Hospital Physician," 49 and 54.
(53) Ibid., 51-53.
(55) Ibid., 52.
(58) Ibid., 52 -53.
(59) Ibid., 52.
(60) Nancy Leys Stepan and Sander L. Gilman, "Appropriating the Idioms of Science: The Rejection of Scientific Racism," in The "Racial" Economy of Science: Toward a Democratic Future, ed. Sandra Harding (Bloomington, IN, 1991), 171.
(61) Terra Ziporyn, Disease in the Popular American Press: The Case of Diphtheria, Typhoid Fever, and Syphilis, 1870-1920 (New York, 1988), 2-5.
(62) Du Bois, The Philadelphia Negro, 45 and 229.
(63) Jacqueline Bacon, "The History of Freedom's Journal: A Study in Empowerment and Community," The Journal of African American History 88.1 (2003): 1-20; Timothy Patrick McCarthy, '"To Plead Our Own Cause': Black Print Culture and the Origins of American Abolitionism," in Prophets of Protest: Reconsidering the History of American Abolitionism, ed. Timothy Patrick McCarthy and John Stauffer (New York, 2006), 114 and 117.
(64) James P. Danky and Maureen E. Hady, African American Newspapers and Periodicals: A National Bibliography (Cambridge, MA, 1998), 161; Faith Berry, ed., From Bondage to Liberation: Writings By and About Afro-Americans from 1700 to 1918 (New York, 2001), 144 and 145.
(65) Danky and Hady, African American Newspapers, 16-17, 160, 458 and "Pennsylvania Ami-Slavery Society," Pennsylvania Freeman (Philadelphia), 15 March 1838, 3, WHS.
(66) Danky and Hady, African American Newspapers, 178, 394, 428, 458; C Peter Ripley, ed., The Black Abolitionist Papers: Volume 3: The United States, 1830-1846 (Chapel Hill, NC, 1991), 129 and 152; Joseph M. Wilson, The Presbyterian Historical Almanac, and Annual Remembrance of the Church, vol. 4 (Philadelphia, PA, 1862), 268, AHTS.
(67) Du Bois, Philadelphia Negro, 229; Eugene Gordon, "The Negro Press," Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 140 (1928): 249.
(68) Du Bois, Philadelphia Negro.
(69) Ibid., 45 and Dorothy B. Porter, "The Organized Educational Activities of Negro Literary Societies, 1828-1846," The Journal of Negro Education 5.4 (1936): 562.
(70) Margaret Hope Bacon, "The Pennsylvania Abolition Society's Mission for Black Education," Pennsylvania Legacies, November 2005, 21-22; Dennis, "Philadelphia's African American Community," 13; Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery, The Present State and Condition of the free People of Color, 4; Needles, Ten Years 'Progress, 17-20; Pennsylvania Society of Friends, A Statistical Inquiry into the Condition of the People of Color, 9, HSP.
(71) For a discussion of the preoccupation in the Philadelphia black community from the late 18th century with literacy and schooling, see Franklin, The Education of Black Philadelphia, 29-32; Perkins, "Quaker Beneficence and Black Control."
(72) Porter, "The Organized Educational Activities of Negro Literary Societies," 557-558; Jacqueline Bacon and Glenn McGlish, "Reinventing the Master's Tools: Nineteenth-Century African American Literary Societies of Philadelphia and Rhetorical Education," Rhetoric Society Quarterly 30.4 (2000): 19-22; Elizabeth McHenry, Forgotten Readers: Recovering the Lost History of African American Literary Societies (Chapel Hill, NC, 2002), 17-18; Frances Smith Foster, "A Narrative of the Interesting Origins and (Somewhat) Surprising Developments of African American Print Culture," American Literary History 17.4 (2005): 715; and Bacon, "The Pennsylvania Abolition Society's Mission for Black Education," 23.
(73) Foster, "A Narrative," 715-717.
(74) Ibid; I. Garland Penn, The Afro-American Press and Its Editors (1891; reprt. Salem, MA, 1988), 26; Armistead S. Pride and Clint C. Wilson, III, A History of the Black Press (Washington, DC, 1997), 31; and Jacqueline Bacon, "The History of Freedom's Journal," (4).
(75) See, for example, Penn, The Afro-American Press and Its Editors, 13-14; Pride and Wilson, A History of the Black Press, 7; Jacqueline Bacon, "Rhetoric and Identity in Absalom Jones and Richard Allen's Narrative of the Proceedings of the Black People Dining the Late Awful Calamity in Philadelphia," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 125 No. 1-2 (2001): 62-63 and The Humblest May Stand Forth: Rhetoric, Empowerment, and Abolition (Columbia, SC, 2002), 13. For an extended discussion of the ways in which African American discourse countered the claims of Blacks' intellectual inferiority that were central to 19th-century ethnological and polygenist thought in the years after the Civil War, see Stepan and Gilman, "Appropriating the Idioms of Science," 170-198.
(76) Foster, "A Narrative," 715-718.
(77) Ibid.; see also McHenry, Forgotten Readers, 1. For an earlier view, see Gordon, "The Negro Press," 248.
(78) Enoch Lewis, "Prospectus," African Observer 1.1(1827): 4, LCP.
(79) Ibid., 2.
(80) "Love of Improvement," Demosthenian Shield (Philadelphia), reprinted in The Colored American (New York), 17 July 1841 (Item #16938, AA).
(82) Foster, "A Narrative," 718.
(83) "Items," Liberator (Boston, MA), 25 May 1833 (Item #05757, AA).
(84) "Chloride of Lime," Liberator (Boston, MA), 7 April 1832 (Item #02937, AA).
(85) "Miscellaneous Matters and Things in General," Liberator (Boston, MA), 19 March 1831 (Item #00558, AA).
(86) "Summary," Freedom's Journal (New York), 18 January 1823, 3, WHS. See also Joseph G. Nancrede, Memorial of Joseph G. Nancrede, Vaccine Physician, Philadelphia, January 14, 1823. Read, and Laid upon the Table. 20th Congress, 1st Session. Doc. No. 66. U.S. House of Representatives (1823; reprt. Washington, DC, 1828) CPP.
(87) "Freedom of Opinion--Infidels and Freethinkers," North Star (Rochester, NY), 14 April 1848 (Item #10122, AA).
(88) "Persecution for New Ideas," North Star (Rochester, NY), 29 September 1848 (Item #12308, AA).
(89) "Freedom of Opinion," North Star, 14 April 1848 (Item #10122, AA).
(90) "Cultivation of the Mind," North Star (Rochester, NY), 11 February 1848 (Item #09185, AA).
(91) Frederick Douglass Paper (Rochester, NY), 4 December 1851 (Item #24740, AA).
(92) "Chloroform," Pennsylvania Freeman (Philadelphia), 9 October 1852, 164.
(93) Enoch Lewis, African Observer, "Prospectus," 2, LCP.
(94) George Whitefield, "A Letter from the Rev. George Whitefield to the Inhabitants of Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina," 23 January 1740, reprinted in the Liberator (Boston, MA), 11 August 1832 (Item #3863, AA).
(95) "From the Boston Courier," Liberator (Boston, MA), 12 November 1831 (Item #01878, AA).
(96) Review of Mr. Converse's Discourse," Vermont Statesman, 19 December 1832, reprinted in Liberator (Boston, MA), 12 January 1833 (Item #4879, AA).
(97) "No Slavery in Nebraska; No Slavery in the Nation; Slavery an Outlaw," The Frederick Douglass Paper (Rochester, NY), 12 May 1854 (Item #49164, AA) and "Is Slavery Profitable Anywhere?" Frederick Douglass Paper (Rochester, NY), 16 November 1855 (Item #77549, AA).
(98) "Slave Trade," Freedom s Journal (New York, NY), 14 September 1827, 105, WHS.
(100) Liberator (Boston, MA), 23 April 1831 (Item #800, AA).
(101) "Slavery Record: Annual View of Slavery," Liberator (Boston, MA), 24 December 1831, 206, WHS.
(102) "O'Connell's Letter," Philadelphia National Enquirer (Pennsylvania Freeman) (Philadelphia), 8 November 1838, 2, WHS.
(103) For more on the rate at which southern "owners" added vaccination to quarantine and isolation when treating smallpox among the enslaved, see Todd Savitt, Medicine and Slavery: The Diseases and Health Care of Blacks in Antebellum Virginia (1978; reprt. Urbana, IL, 2002), 220-225.
(104) "Negro Slavery," African Observer 1.2 (1827): 33, LCP.
(105) Milton Meltzer, ed., In Their Own Words: A History of the American Negro. 1619-1865 (New York, 1964), 179-180.
(106) "A Voice from England," North Star (Rochester, NY), 28 January 1848 (Item #09039, AA).
(107) Frederick Douglass Paper (Rochester, NY), 28 January 1853 (Item #45751, AA). See also Solomon Northup, Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon Northup, A Citizen of New York, Kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, and Rescued in 1853, from a Cotton Plantation Near the Red River, in Louisiana (Auburn, NY, 1853), SCRBC
(108) See DeLancey, "Piercing the 'Veil,'" 83-123.
(110) See, for example, H. M. T., "Washington Correspondence," Christian Recorder (Philadelphia, PA), 18 April 1863 (Item #58165, AA).
(111) See, for example, "A Missionary Trip Up the Nile," Christian Recorder (Philadelphia, PA), 12 October 1861 (Item #43630, AA); a series by S. M. D. Ware, "For The Christian Recorder," Christian Recorder (Philadelphia, PA), 29 August 1863 (Item #58967, AA); Christian Recorder (Philadelphia, PA), 16 August 1862 (Item #55589, AA), and 9 December 1865 (Item #73241, AA); "Disease Embraced in the Plan of Creation," Christian Recorder (Philadelphia, PA), 18 November 1865 (Item #73079, AA) and 7 April 1866 (Item #73933, AA); "Mad Dogs," a two-part series comparing rabies to smallpox, Christian Recorder (Philadelphia, PA), 21 September 1861 (Item #43362, AA) and 28 September 1861 (Item #43505, AA).
(112) "Children," Christian Recorder (Philadelphia, PA), 7 June 1862 (Item #54946, AA).
(113) DeLancey, "Piercing the 'Veil,'" 83-123 and "Marks of Resistance: Constructing Public Health and the Under-Vaccinated Negro in Civil War-Era Philadelphia," paper presented at the Practices and Representations of Health: Historical Perspectives Conference, Society for the Social History of Medicine, University of Warwick, UK, June 2006.
(114) Ibid. For more about these literacy efforts, see Heather Andrea Williams, "'Clothing Themselves in Intelligence': The Freedpeople, Schooling, and Northern Teachers, 1861-1871," The Journal of African American History 87.4 (2002): 372-389.
(115) Ibid; and Humphreys, Intensely Human, 95-98.
(117) Ibid. and DeLancey, "Vaccinators, ... and Servants of the People: Routine and Revolutionary Medicine in the Black Panther," paper presented at the Third Annual Conference on Science and the Public, University of Manchester, UK, June 2008.
Dayle B. DeLancey is Assistant Professor of the History of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.…