For two centuries, the health of African Americans in Central Virginia has been poor compared to the health of whites. Blacks have consistently had higher disease and death rates than whites, and over the years many African Americans have experienced the poverty, stress, and other environmental factors that cause disease.
As sanitation, health education, and health care have improved, treatments for disease have changed and have become more available. Public health programs have played an important role, as has integration, which has brought more and more African Americans into the health professions.
The Legacy Museum’s first exhibit traces changes in African American medicine and health in Central Virginia, from before the Civil War until the present day.