Over Our Dead Bodies:
Is Research Making Us Distinct?

In 1847, a former slave known as “Fed” escaped to England and claimed the full name of “John Brown.” In 1855, Brown, a compact, dark-skinned man in his forties, published his memoirs as “Slave Life in Georgia.” In the book, he detailed the time spent “on loan” to a Georgian doctor during the 1820’s and 1830’s.

At the time, Brown’s master became ill, and in gratitude to the treatment he received from Dr. Thomas Hamilton, he told the doctor to ask for any favor. The doctor stated he had been trying to discover a cure for sun-poisoning, and asked for the loan of the slave, Brown, to further his experiments.

Brown goes on to describe the horrifying procedures he was forced to endure in the doctor’s misguided and backwards attempts to “further scientific knowledge,” including being buried in a pit of burning charcoals, poached alive, having his skin flayed and blistered because this crazy doctor wanted to find out just how deep Black skin goes, and other experiments “... which I cannot dwell upon.” In the end, Dr. Hamilton never discovered a cure for sun-poisoning, although he did make a fortune selling fake flour pills (made from flour, cornmeal, and water) as an advertised “cure.” And when Brown could take the surgical torture no more, he fled to England.

Unfortunately, John Brown’s experiences were all too common during the antebellum period of this country’s history. We’ve read all about the sick and twisted experiments that Nazi butcher/doctors performed on Jewish men, women, and children in German concentration camps.

Well, multiply that over four hundred years; and also remember that the sick, psychopathic, sadistic minds who performed those German “operations” and “procedures” supposedly in the name of science are the same sick, psychopathic, sadistic minds that decided to “see how deep Black skin goes” because “Negroes don’t have the same feelings and sense of pain as whites.”

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October 2016

Over Our Dead Bodies:
Is Research Making Us Distinct?


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