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Historical Document
"Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race"

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Southern journals of the antebellum era were full of advice for slaveholders. De Bow's Review, for example, offered numerous articles detailing methods for dealing with slave discipline, nutrition, work strategies, and other topics.

In this article, "Diseases and Peculiarities of the Negro Race," Dr. Samuel Cartwright, a highly respected and widely published doctor from the University of Louisiana, discusses two diseases which he claims are unique to African Americans. One is his newly-discovered "Drapetomania," a disease which causes slaves to run away; the other, "Dysaethesia Aethiopica," a disease causing "rascality" in black people free and enslaved.

Dr. Cartwright offers advice for preventing and curing these diseases. He says, "With the advantages of proper medical advice, strictly followed, this troublesome practice that many negroes have of running away, can be almost entirely prevented, although the slaves be located on the borders of a free state, within a stone's throw of the abolitionists."

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Related Entries:
Conditions of antebellum slavery

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