Institutional Scholarship

The 1793 Yellow Fever Epidemic in Philadelphia: The Voluntary Aid of the African American Relief Force to the Ailing Population

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dc.contributor.advisor Hayton, Darin West, Catherine B. 2014-10-28T20:42:07Z 2014-10-28T20:42:07Z 2009
dc.description.abstract In 1776, the United States declared independence from the British Empire. The end of the American Revolution marked a crucial point in American history, a defining moment for what has proven to be the promising future of capitalism and democracy in the United States. The young republic was founded on the democratic ideal of protecting individual rights. The decades following Independence marked a period of great vulnerability in the history of the United States. In 1793, an outbreak of yellow fever devastated the capital city of Philadelphia. Catherine West offers a social historian's view of the 1793 Philadelphia Yellow Fever Epidemic, by explaining the national culture, public health, and disease theory of the period to illuminate the social response of the African American Community. Despite the major contributions of Philadelphia's African American population to the relief force, Mathew Carey slighted their role in A Short Account of the Malignant Fever, Lately Prevalent in Philadelphia: with a Statement of the Proceedings That Took Place on the Subject in Different Parts of the United States. Mathew Carey created a false depiction of the African American nurses in order to draw more positive attention to the white protagonists of his own narrative. The volunteer nurses from the African American Community of Philadelphia embraced the idea of civic voluntarism during the epidemic. However, the prejudice of contemporary sources excluded free African American citizens from the characterization of the public-spirited citizen. As a result, the efforts of the African American Community to prove their rightful citizenship during the outbreak were unsuccessful. An evaluation of the contributions made by the African American Community of Philadelphia, as indicated in the narrative written by Richard Allen and Absalom Jones, allows for the heroic efforts of the African American nurses to be rightfully placed in the overall development of public health. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Department of History en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Yellow fever -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia -- 1793
dc.subject.lcsh African American nurses -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia -- 18th century
dc.title The 1793 Yellow Fever Epidemic in Philadelphia: The Voluntary Aid of the African American Relief Force to the Ailing Population en_US
dc.type Thesis (B.A.) en_US
dc.rights.access Haverford users only

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