Madness: Race and Insanity in a Jim Crow Asylum
The toll mental illness takes goes beyond the afflicted individual and usually impacts families for years. Antonia Hylton experienced a family member enduring the painful battle and has seen how the treatment tends to be skewed, especially when it comes to race. An example of this inequitable handling of care was best exemplified by the Crownsville State Hospital.
The inmates were ushered in to help build their refuge in 1911. The flawed and racist views that determined institutionalization led to a large African American population housed in the hospital. The hospital was chronically understaffed in its early years, many employees were apt to open their fists to a recalcitrant patient as opposed to their minds. As the decades passed, more objective officials and sympathetic employees would arrive to aid the men and women in their struggles.
Mental illness is a topic that was once considered off-limits in discussion. Systemic racism is a subject that has been spotlighted with the passage of time. Antonia Hylton tackles both issues with refreshing honesty and tact in her exploration of the Crownsville State Hospital. Madness will resonate on many levels with many readers.
|Grand Central Publishing
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