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May 11 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Securing Care for Mentally Ill African Americans After the Civil War
One of the biggest challenges facing the post Civil War south was the vast number of African Americans who required medical care. The majority of established hospitals were reluctant to accept them as patients, and those that suffered from mental illness faced the greatest amount of discrimination. Historian Craig Swenson will discuss how the Freedmen’s Bureau established a system of hospitals to handle this growing need and how a former Confederate hospital in Richmond became one of the world’s first asylums dedicated solely to the treatment of African American patients.
Craig Swenson holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from the University of Baltimore and currently completing his Master’s Degree in Museum Studies at the Harvard University Extension School. His research deals with medical and architectural history with a focus on mental health. He is currently employed at the National Building Museum where he most recently worked on The Architecture of an Asylum, an exhibition on St. Elizabeth’s Hospital. He is also an intern at the Museum.