"Dancing on Eggs": Charles H. Bynum, Racial Politics, and the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, 1938-1954

Stephen E. Mawdsley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his law partner Basil O’Connor formed the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis (NFIP) to battle the viral disease poliomyelitis. Although the NFIP program was purported to be available for all Americans irrespective of “race, creed, or color,” officials encountered numerous difficulties upholding this pledge in a nation divided by race. In 1944, NFIP officials hired educator Charles H. Bynum to head a new department of “Negro Activities.” Between 1944 and 1954, Bynum negotiated the NFIP bureaucracy to educate officials and influence their national health policy. As part of the NFIP team, he helped increase interracial fund-raising in the March of Dimes, improve polio treatment for black Americans, and further the civil rights movement.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)217-247
Number of pages31
JournalBulletin of the History of Medicine
Volume84
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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