Secret People

Laura HarrisonJohn Anderson
During the height of fears over AIDS, some "extremists" argued that people with such diseases should be forcibly isolated from the rest of the population. Most of us said, "that could never happen here." But once, and not all that long ago, it did. From the 1920's to the late 1950's United States citizens with leprosy were forcibly transported, often in chains and in sealed box cars, to Carville, America's last leprosarium. Abandoned by family and friends, stripped of their constitutional rights to vote, to get married and bear children, even to use the telephone, many of Carville's "residents" nonetheless accomplished the remarkable act of transforming their prison into a home. Secret People tells a damning story of outrageous discrimination and stigma in our public health system, interwoven with a haunting and bittersweet chronicle of human courage and perseverance.
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