Black History: Special Delivery!!
Onesimus was an enslaved African. He was owned by Cotton Mather, a Puritan minister in Boston. His knowledge of traditional African healing practices helped to save many people from a small pox epidemic in 1721. Onesimus informed his owner about the centuries old inoculation procedure practiced in Africa. The process involved extracting material from the pustule of someone who was infected and scratching it into the skin of someone who was unaffected. The intentional introduction of the disease inoculated the person, providing them with immunity from the disease. For some, there was no reaction. In most other cases, a mild non fatal form of the disease occurred.