Health and Wellness : INVENTOR OF SMALL POX INOCULATION

Discussion in 'Black Health and Wellness' started by Kemetstry, Jun 30, 2015.

  1. Kemetstry

    Kemetstry going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Did You Know That A Slave Was Responsible For The Inoculation Procedure Used To Treat Small Pox?

    Onesimus (fl. 1706 – 1717), slave and medical pioneer, was born in the late seventeenth century, probably in Africa, although the precise date and place of his birth are unknown. He first appears in the historical record in the diary of Cotton Mather, a prominent New England theologian and minister of Boston’s Old North Church. Reverend Mather notes in a diary entry for 13 December 1706 that members of his congregation purchased for him “a very likely Slave; a young Man who is a Negro of a promising aspect of temper” (Mather, vol. 1, 579). Mather named him Onesimus, after a biblical slave who escaped from his master, an early Christian named Philemon.

    Little is known of Onesimus after he purchased his freedom, but in 1721 Cotton Mather used information he had learned five years earlier from his former slave to combat a devastating smallpox epidemic that was then sweeping Boston. In a 1716 letter to the Royal Society of London, Mather proposed “ye Method of Inoculation” as the best means of curing smallpox and noted that he had learned of this process from “my Negro-Man Onesimus, who is a pretty Intelligent Fellow” (Winslow, 33). Onesimus explained that he had undergone an Operation, which had given him something of ye Small-Pox, and would forever preserve him from it, adding, That it was often used among [Africans] and whoever had ye Courage to use it, was forever free from ye Fear of the Contagion. He described ye Operation to me, and showed me in his Arm ye Scar.” (Winslow, 33)

    Reports of similar practices in Turkey further persuaded Mather to mount a public inoculation campaign. Most white doctors rejected this process of deliberately infecting a person with smallpox–now called variolation–in part because of their misgivings about African medical knowledge. Public and medical opinion in Boston was strongly against both Mather and Dr. Zabdiel Boylston, the only doctor in town willing to perform inoculations; one opponent even threw a grenade into Mather’s home. A survey of the nearly six thousand people who contracted smallpox between 1721 and 1723 found, however, that Onesimus, Mather, and Boylston had been right. Only 2 percent of the six hundred Bostonians inoculated against smallpox died, while 14 percent of those who caught the disease but were not inoculated succumbed to the illness.

    It is unclear when or how Onesimus died, but his legacy is unambiguous. His knowledge of variolation gives the lie to one justification for enslaving Africans, namely, white Europeans’ alleged superiority in medicine, science, and technology. This bias made the smallpox epidemic of 1721 more deadly than it need have been. Bostonians and other Americans nonetheless adopted the African practice of inoculation in future smallpox outbreaks, and variolation remained the most effective means of treating the disease until the development of vaccination by Edward Jenner in 1796.

    via:http://hutchinscenter.fas.harvard.edu/onesimus-fl-1706-1717-slave-and-medical-pioneer-was-born




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  2. KMeister

    KMeister Banned MEMBER

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    Your thread title reads: "Inventor of Polio Vaccine." I believe that was Jonas Salk, yes?
     
  3. Kemetstry

    Kemetstry going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Oops





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  4. KMeister

    KMeister Banned MEMBER

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    Your thread title reads: "Inventor of Smallpox Vaccine." I believe British doctor Edward Jenner was the inventor of the first widely effective smallpox vaccine. The article doesn't credit Onesimus with being the inventor or even developer of the vaccine. He is credited with being one of the first recipients of an early version of a vaccine.
     
  5. Kemetstry

    Kemetstry going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    No, he took credit for it. Actually, Africans were never struck by small pox. There are some that said the vaccine goes back even farther. And it came from Africa.





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  6. KMeister

    KMeister Banned MEMBER

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    But the thread is titled "Inventor of Smallpox Vaccine." Clearly, this Onesimus person was NOT the inventor. Also, "There are some that said..." is far from convincing information. A very strange thread...
     
  7. Kemetstry

    Kemetstry going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Nothing is clear. Perhaps you should contact the author





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  8. KMeister

    KMeister Banned MEMBER

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    ??I don't understand the rationale here. The article does not claim this Onesimus was the inventor of a smallpox vaccine. However, the thread is titled "Inventor of Smallpox Vaccine."

    A lawyer friend once told me one does not score any points in court by refusing to concede the obvious.
     
  9. Kemetstry

    Kemetstry going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    I didn't write this. Thus you not understanding is mute.





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  10. KMeister

    KMeister Banned MEMBER

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    But you read it and chose to start a thread based on it title "Inventor of Smallpox Vaccine" featuring a black man. This is a black-oriented forum. Logic dictates that this featured black man is being presented as the (or an) inventor of the (or a) smallpox vaccine. However, the article makes no such claim. Then what was the point of starting this thread?
     
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