Plagued by geographic isolation, poverty, and acute shortages of
health professionals and hospital beds, the South was dubbed by
Surgeon General Thomas Parran "the nation's number one health
problem." The improvement of southern, rural, and black health
would become a top priority of the U.S. Public Health Service
during the Roosevelt and Truman administrations.
Karen Kruse Thomas details how NAACP lawsuits pushed southern
states to equalize public services and facilities for blacks just
as wartime shortages of health personnel and high rates of draft
rejections generated broad support for health reform. Southern
Democrats leveraged their power in Congress and used the war effort
to call for federal aid to uplift the South. The language of
regional uplift, Thomas contends, allowed southern liberals to aid
blacks while remaining silent on race. Reformers embraced, at least
initially, the notion of "deluxe Jim Crow"-support for health care
that maintained segregation. Thomas argues that this strategy was,
in certain respects, a success, building much-needed hospitals and
training more black doctors.
By the 1950s, deluxe Jim Crow policy had helped to weaken the
legal basis for segregation. Thomas traces this transformation at
the national level and in North Carolina, where "deluxe Jim Crow
reached its fullest potential." This dual focus allows her to
examine the shifting alliances-between blacks and liberal whites,
southerners and northerners, activists and doctors-that drove
policy. Deluxe Jim Crow provides insight into a variety of
historical debates, including the racial dimensions of state
building, the nature of white southern liberalism, and the role of
black professionals during the long civil rights movement.
Subjects: History, Political Science, Sociology
Table of Contents
You are viewing the table of contents
You do not have access to this
on JSTOR. Try logging in through your institution for access.