Lovecraft Country is out and has people abuzz. The combination of cosmic horror and generations of racial violence has struck a chord with horror fans around the world. After all, what's scarier, ageless malevolent gods or the way our society has either participated in or shrugged off violence against black people.
The writers over at The Root discuss the history between the scenes of racial violence and their real life counterparts.
The Safe Negro Traveler Guide.
One of the key items in the show is a book that provides users with a network of places on the road that are safe to stop at. This was based on a real life periodical.
During the Jim Crow era, black travelers faced a number of concerns: Many hotels, inns and restaurants didn’t allow black customers. White-owned businesses in the South often refused to service vehicles driven by African Americans. Even stopping to use gas station restrooms was fraught with peril across the Southern United States. In 1956, only three hotels in the entire state of New Hampshire offered accommodations to black travelers...
In 1937, a mail carrier named Victor Hugo Green published the Negro Motorist Green Book—a guide for New York of places that welcomed black travelers. He relied on information from fellow black postal carriers, and the book became so popular, many referred to it as “the bible for black travelers.” By the time the last edition of the Green Book was published in 1966-1967, it had expanded from a 15-page guide for New York to 99 pages of information indicating safe harbor for blacks traveling all over America and internationally.
Medical experiments on Black People.
In the 3rd episode, the characters meet the ghost of Hiram Epstein, a doctor who performed medical experiments on Black children. This is based on the journals of Dr. Robert Jones in Petersburg, Va, who performed horrifying experiments on children, like boiling water on their skin to cure them of Typhoid.
Todd L. Savitt wrote in the Journal of Southern History :
Further investigation into this subject indicates that southern white medical educators and researchers relied greatly on the availability of Negro patients for various purposes. Black bodies often found their way to directing tables, operating amphitheaters, classroom or bedside demonstrations, and experimental facilities...But blacks were particularly easy targets, given their positions as voiceless slaves or ‘free persons of color’ in a society sensitive to and separated by race. This open and deliberate use of black for medical research and demonstrations well illustrates the racial attitudes of antebellum white southerners.
Beginning in 1948, the U.S. government paid researchers at Johns Hopkins Hospital to give 582 Baltimore schoolchildren free adenoidectomy. The doctors were actually inserting radioactive rods in the children’s noses. From 1960 until 1971, 88 poor Black cancer patients at the University of Chicago were exposed to whole-body radiation treatments without their knowledge or consent, according to the book America’s Nuclear Legacy.
But the real Hiram Epstein is undoubtedly J. Marion Sims. Between 1845 and 1849, Sims performed experimental backyard surgery on at least 12 enslaved Black women with no anesthesia. Aside from having a hospital named after him and monuments erected in his honor in Alabama, New York and South Carolina, Sims earned a distinct title for his unethical practices:
“The Father of Modern Gynecology.”
There are many other tales of real-world terror. Read the rest here :