Friday, October 1, 2010


From the Greek drapetes (runaway) and mania (frenzy). 

A recognized disease of the 19th century. Its symptoms were lethargy, sullenness, and a general dissatisfaction with life as a black slave on Southern plantations. In its acute phase, the slave would runaway to freedom in the North. Today it would be called Harriet Tubman Disease.

The disorder was first described in medical journals by Dr. Samuel Cartwright in 1851. His prescribed cure was liberal application of the whip.

Another disease identified by Dr. Cartwright was Dysaethesia Aethiopica (meaning: altered sensitivity in the negroid). This was a disease commonly known to slave owners as Rascality. Dr. Cartwright declared that this disease resulted in lazy slaves with insensitive skin and back lesions. Again, his approved treatment was to stimulate the slave with frequent and vigorous whippings.
An unfortunate victim of Dysaethesia Aethiopica.

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