, 26 tweets, 4 min read
Thread: A few stories came out today that says this year’s flu season may be the worst yet.
Traditionally, black people are hesitant when it comes to vaccines. Our reluctance has nothing to do with being anti-Vaxxers.

White people with needles have never been our thing.
It is based on the history of the Tuskegee experiments, the NC eugenics program that sterilized 5000 black women and the secret army tests that sprayed radioactive particles in E. St Louis black neighborhoods

All of this is now available on your Google machines.
But we can’t forget that one of the biggest breakthroughs in the history of American medicine came from an enslaved African named Onesimus
In 1706, a Boston churchgoer purchased a West African man and gave him to a pastor

You read that right. A white man literally put a whole HUMAN BEING in the offering plate. Because there isn’t a lot of documentation, we don’t know if it was tithes, offering or the building fund
The preacher who recieved that offering was Cotton Mather. If you don’t know about Cotton Mather, he was basically the Billy Graham of his time.

Although he was from a learned family (his father was the president of Harvard) Cotton didn’t trust a lot of science BS
If he was alive today he’d probably call climate change a “demonic spirit.” When someone asked Cotton to pray on a group of kids, Cotton observed them and concluded that they were clearly under the spell of magic and called for an investigation.
We now know this as the “Salem Witch Trials”

Needless to say, Cotton wasn’t a big fan of science.
But all that was behind Cotton when he got this prayer offering named Onesimus.

When Cotton got to know Onesimus, he couldn’t STAND him. You see, Onesimus was smart AF and you know how Wypipo get around smart black people.
Plus, Onesimus refused to convert to Christianity, which irked Cotton. Mather wrote that he had to keep an eye on Onesimus because he was “wicked” but a “pretty intelligent fellow”
Curiously, even though he disliked Onesimus, Mather wouldn’t free him. Mather told Onesimus he would only free him if he would buy his freedom. When Onesimus somehow got up all the money, Mather was like:

“Nah, I was just playing.”*

*not an exact quote”
So Onesimus took the money and gave it to one of his fellow slaves.

Anyway, one day Cotton was kicking with Onesimus (which probably meant ACTUALLY KICKING HIM) and started asking questions.

So he asked Onesimus if he was afraid of getting Smallpox
During early 1700s, Smallpox was like the school shootings, Mexican immigrants and black lives matter—it really scared white people because they thought it might kill them.

But Onesimus told Cotton he couldn’t get smallpox because he had an operation.
Cotton has no idea what Onesimus was talking about, so Onesimus explained:
“People take Juice of Small-Pox; and Cutty-skin, and Putt in a Drop.”*

This is an actual translation.
Cotton started asking other enslaved Africans about this, and found out that Wes Africans had been doing this for years. When someone got sick from smallpox, they take the puss from one of the sores and inject it under their skin, thus inoculating themselves
So Cotton told his doctor friend Zabdiel Boyleston (I know it sounds like a black name. It’s not) about it and they decided to try it.

Everyone else thought they were fools for taking the word of a slave.
One particular newspaper owner had just started a new newspaper in Boston and published stories laughing at Mather’s theory that he got from a slave.

Still Boylston and Mather inoculated 242 people using Onesimus’ technique
Then, in 1721, a ship arrived in Boston. Along with the goods and supplies on board, the ship had another piece of cargo:

That year, the smallpox epidemic killed one out of every seven people in Boston.

But out of the 242 people inoculated by Boylston (including Mather’s entire family) only six died (1 in 40)
Mather were back to England and they began testing this technique. A few years later, someone developed a vaccine and Massachusetts became the first state to have mandatory vaccinations.
Many people say this is what got Mather’s legacy back on track. Although this treatment had already existed in the Far East, almost every scientist and historian credits Mather and Boyleston’s breakthrough as the turning point for Western vaccines
That newspaper owner who criticized Boylston for taking advice from an enslaved black man eventually apologized. After the young newspaper man’s own son died of smallpox, Boylston was even nice enough to lend that man some money when he went broke.
That man became a staunch advocate for inoculation, among other things.

One of the “among other things” was his opposition to slavery. That man became a somewhat prominent and vocal abolitionist.

His name was Benjamin Franklin.
I know y’all wanna know if Onesimus was given his freedom after he saved Boston and quite possibly the world...

Did I mention we were talking about White Christians? They have a whole different type of Holy Ghost
Cotton Mather made Onesimus save up to buy his freedom AGAIN. And when Onesimus finally raised enough Cotton Mather set him free, but ONLY on the condition that Onesimus would still work around the house for free.

So, not really free.
But just remember, we started this vaccine shit...

And this is the motherfucking thanks we get.

*you can quote that
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