A report by Dr. Halle T. Johnson (Halle Tanner Dillon Johnson), published in the Report of the Proceedings of the Nineteenth Annual Meeting of the Alumnae Association of the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, May 9 and 10, 1894. In her report to the Alumnae Association, Dr. Johnson describes the extremely poor health of the poor, rural, African American population around Tuskegee and in surrounding Macon County, and describes her efforts to alleviate these conditions through the establishment of the Lafayette Dispensary.
Why It Matters
Johnson’s efforts to establish a dispensary (clinic) is an example of how early African American women physicians were compelled to establish new institutions to address inequities in healthcare for African Americans as well as professional opportunities for African American doctors, especially woman doctors.
Additionally, Johnson attributes the poor health of the community around Tuskegee to poverty, a lack of infrastructure, and lack of access and transportation to affordable health care. Some people at this time blamed the supposed weakness of African Americans for their ill health. Johnson’s experience refutes this, and in fact, she thinks that the resilience of the people in the face of these conditions only proved their strength, which could be improved with better health.
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Analyze this evidence
- Why is the death rate so high in Tuskegee? Find two reasons from the text.
- What does Tanner want to do to help the sick of Tuskegee and Macon County? Why has she been unable to achieve this goal, so far?