A Black Scourge? Race and the Rockefeller’s Tuberculosis Commission in Interwar Jamaica

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From 1927 till 1942, the Rockefeller Foundation ran a tuberculosis commission in Jamaica that carried out research into the epidemiology of the disease, examined the efficacy of a vaccine with heat-killed tubercle bacilli, and offered basic treatment to tuberculosis sufferers. Drawing amongst others upon the diaries and scientific writings by staff employed by the commission, this article explores the role that race played in the tuberculosis commission. It assesses how race shaped the research carried out by the commission, how it informed staff interactions and staff-patient relations, and the clash and/or confluence of ‘imported’ and local racial ideas in the commission’s work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1071-1088
JournalHistória, Ciências, Saúde-Manguinhos
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018


  • Tuberculosis
  • race
  • caribbean
  • Global Health
  • Rockefeller Foundation

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