It appears there remains some confusion surrounding the dysfunctional relationship between the medical community and the Black community and why reluctance or resistance to treatment exists. 

I’ve heard numerous compelling reports attempting to reveal and explain America’s history of evil abuses, medical atrocities, mistreatment and outright refusal to treat Blacks. This essay adds another chapter to the story of White Supremacy and the inhumane treatment of Blacks in America.

Resurrectionists were service providers of the most heinous order, with clientele who could best be described as despicable. The resurrectionist, also known as body-snatchers. grave-robbers, and night riders were tasked with providing cadavers, corpses (dead bodies) to medical doctors and medical schools for training and anatomical research. 

In the early days of the practice, it was common to claim the corpse of a deceased slave from the only party with any claim to it– its owner. A sum of money might be paid, as it would, if it were any other head of livestock with a dollar value, living or dead. Next, came grave-robbing or the act of digging up a grave to steal the human remains for its cash value– thus the terms body snatcher or resurrectionist

The practice of grave robbing, and the abduction of living humans, began as a business enterprise in 14th century Italy. England began the practice with acquisition of executed felons. Demand required other means and methods of acquiring bodies, including grave robbing. Ironically, England’s Burial Act of 1857 regulating burial grounds forbade the robbing of a coffin but not its contents. The practice continued in America, as the medical profession grew and more medical schools sprang up throughout the North and South. 

Typically, no longer relying on cadavers, the aged, feeble, disabled, and destitute were targeted by the night riders. The Anatomy Act of 1832 required doctors to have a license to dissect human bodies. It also essentially removed executed felons from the list of eligible candidates. However, those with no family ties or anyone to notice their disappearance were also targets for abduction– the indigent. Some unsuspecting drunk, wandering the streets in the dark of night, might be murdered, whisked away by body snatchers, and delivered to a medical school or a night doctor for dissection. This practice earned the purveyors, the peddlers of bodies the nickname, “sack-em-up boys”.

In the South the Ku Klux Klan found the practice of night stalking and body snatching a highly effective method of terrorizing the Black community. The stalkers would dress either in Klan white hoods and robes or long white doctor’s coats and travel in the darkest hours of night giving the grave robbers the appearance of ghosts. Early reports of abductions and murders were discredited by the authorities as folklore and myth. Southern Blacks moving North brought with them stories of ghosts that traveled by night, stealing people from the streets and robbing graves. The practice migrated North with the spread of medical colleges throughout the North and South.

Accounts of these horrific practices have become so pervasive that they are no longer disputed. The threat remains and the terror continues. A full week hadn’t passed before it was announced that the danger of the deadly Covid–19 virus would have a disproportionately negative effect on the Black community. How could that be? I wondered. How could they know so quickly? Had there been time enough to gather sufficient empirical data to provide reliable statistics? Or was it more mind games, mental abuse, psychological harassment, brainwashing to render an entire community, 14% of the U.S. population, anxious and in fear of the deadly unknown? Fear fed minute-by-minute, 24-hour non-stop national reporting of fatalities from a mysterious airborne virus from Wuhan China of all places.

Joe Biden, then Presidential candidate Biden, said of then President Trump, “You talk about helping African Americans? 1 in 1,000 African Americans has been killed because of the coronavirus. And if he doesn’t do something quickly by the end of the year, 1 in 500 will have been killed.” Apparently, someone is keeping score and I have only their word to believe as truth. I feel helpless as I don my humble paper mask, as protection against a deadly pathogen. I wear more protection facial protection if I’m sanding wood or painting a wall. And as I wash my hands for the 100th time in a day in 20 second increments, I don’t know who or what to believe. Now it’s time to have the Covid vaccine administered? 

If they’re to be believed, and I honestly don’t know who they are, Gates, Cuomo, Biden, but if they are to be believed, and this is not a test of a global distribution of a deadly airborne agent, a worldwide eugenics exercise, the resurrectionists will have their hands full and God help us all– this won’t end anytime soon. 

That’s what’s on my mind this Black History month.




Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *