Sunday, February 28, 2016

A Memphis Slave Hospital

I was surprised to learn about Jackson Street Hospital, an infirmary for African Americans in antebellum Augusta, Georgia, a couple of years ago. But it appears that Jackson Street Hospital was not the sole hospital for slaves and free blacks in the South who advertised.

In the January 1, 1857, issue of the Memphis Daily Appeal, the above advertisement ran for "Dr. Robards' Private Infirmary for Negroes." Dr. Robards appealed directly to slave owners in this notice. He claimed: "The experience and observation of many year in the profession have convinced me that a large majority of the invalid negroes on plantations and elsewhere, who are worthless to their owners and burdens to themselves, might, by proper and judicious treatment, comfortable quarters, good nursing and regular administration [of] remedies, be cured and made valuable servants."

Robards offered to attend to each slave patient himself, along with the help of "attentive nurses" for only a $1.00 to $1.50 fee per day. However, the good doctor did not accept patients with epidemic or contagious diseases. He also noted the location of his office for easy admittance.

This idea of slave hospitals is quite fascinating to me. If anyone knows of others, I would be interested to learn about others.

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