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Story by Sybil Hampton

Little Rock, AR

Our Grandfather, “Son” Jordan died on July 23, 1922. My father, Leslie W. Jordan, Sr. was 3 years old and his brother Eric was an infant at the time of their father’s death in Monticello, Arkansas. Our grandfather died of tuberculosis.

The following information from page 7 of the bulletin 100 YEARS OF SERVICE: Arkansas Department of Health, 1913-2013 is chilling and a stark reminder of why inequities in health care must be eliminated.

 “In 1900, TB was the second-leading cause of death after pneumonia – eight of 10 of those who developed infections died. More than 80 percent of the population was thought to be infected, although most had no symptoms. By the time the Arkansas Tuberculosis Association (ATA) was founded in 1908, the disease was killing 3,000 Arkansans annually. The only treatment available at the time was to provide good nutrition and plenty of rest and fresh air, all while isolating the patient from the general population. Act 378 of 1909 authorized the state to locate, erect, organize, manage, and maintain a state sanatorium, which later opened at Booneville after the city donated 973 acres. The Arkansas State Tuberculosis Sanatorium was a 700-bed facility available only to whites. Black patients remained without housing until the Thomas C. McRae Sanatorium, a 35-bed facility, opened in 1930.”


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