Eye-Opening Perspectives for Heroic Hearts

Eye-Opening Perspectives for Heroic Hearts

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Vanderbilt Study: Dark Skinned People Harder To Sanitize

1965 Medical Study Showed Concern For Proper Sanitation

by Winsip Custer CPW News Service

Known only as the "Vanderbilt Study" by Dr. Albion Bright White, the dusty manuscript was found by a Nashville, Tennessee historian, Jacob Branscomb Bennett who stumbled onto the only copy of the first draft of what he believes is a justification for the isolation of Negroes.  "I was rummaging through some of the books in the garage of a deceased Nashville librarian and found it.  The physician-author, Dr. Albion Bright White, may have been a pen name, or a real person.  We are trying to determine that now, but what is clear is that this well documented, but obviously skewed study, is based on pseudo-science peppered with anthropological, sociological and medical miscalculations and innuendo.  It was produced at a time when Vanderbilt University was having to decide whether to revamp or close its medical school. This coincided with the Civil Rights Movement and the arrival of a black student applying to Vanderbilt Divinity School.  The report states that the black student upon arriving at the seminary said 'I'm here to learn how to make some divinity'," said Bennett.

"The student was initially told that divinity was exceedingly difficult to make and that because it is white, required extreme levels of sanitation that were beyond the abilities of any Negro.  However, the report also notes that the student was referred to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland which was recruiting new "students" for the Tuskegee Experiment at neighboring Tuskegee Institute and that he would be welcomed there if he applied to the program assistant, Eunice Rivers.  An eighty-five year old Dr. Albion Bright White, a plastic surgeon,  died in 1999 of a heart attack while operating on a patient at Nashville's HCA/Columbia Hospital during what his medical team called the "Michael Jackson Procedure".  The surgery patient known only as "Checkers" attempted to sue Dr. White's estate for malpractice, but the case never made it to trial and was settled out of court.  It is not yet known if this plastic surgeon was the author-physician who wrote the "Vanderbilt Study" nor whether the study was in any way endorsed or commissioned by Vanderbilt University or its Medical or Divinity Schools.

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