Much of what scholars know about race and medicine in the late-nineteenth-and early-twentieth-century South relates to the racial beliefs of white physicians and the segregated and exploitative treatment of black patients in hospitals and public health programs. This article shifts scholarly attention to the ways African American patients and their families took part in medical practice in commonplace settings of the home and office. The author examines how African Americans called upon local physicians in the rural and small-town South, how white physicians responded, and how they interacted in cases of serious illness, injury, and surgery. The claims of black southerners to physicians' treatments, in combination with small-town physicians' continuing reliance on interpersonal practices of medical care, made for an erratic but potentially distinctive cross-racial encounter—one involving a greater degree of negotiated authority and personal care than what generally has been recognized for this time and place.


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pp. 178-205
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