Black History: Special Delivery!!

Dr. Samuel Cartwright
Dr. Samuel Cartwright (1793 – 1863)

American physician Dr. Samuel Cartwright (1793 – 1863) observed black slaves who fled from captivity and saw an illness.  In 1851 he named the illness, “Drapetomania or the “disease causing Negroes to flee”. He used this diagnosis to explain that black slaves did not really want freedom and that if they did try to escape, they were actually “ill”. Cartwright suggested that the cause of Drapetomania was slave masters treating their slaves in too humane of a manner. He also suggested the illness was further caused by slaves perceiving themselves to be individuals of worth. For Cartwright, the slave’s desire for freedom was an illness and Cartwright felt that he had the cure. Continue reading “Scientific Racism: The Drapetomania Diagnosis”