In antebellum Virginia, African Americans and whites had the same diseases and received the same treatments, but beliefs about medical differences between blacks and whites were used to justify slavery.
African Americans, nearly half the population of Virginia, passed down remedies made from plants and used charms and medicines from African tradition. African American midwives delivered white babies as well as black.
During the Civil War, Lynchburg’s slaves, who served as nurses, cooks, laundry workers, and attendants, kept the city’s military hospitals going.
The post-Civil-War period saw the founding of schools to train black doctors and nurses.