On this day, in 1960, 4 college freshmen, Joseph McNeil, Franklin McCain, Ezell Blair Jr., and David Richmond from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University finished shopping at Woolworth’s in Greensboro, NC and sat down at the lunch counter, ordering coffee. Unlike the rest of the store, the lunch counter was racially segregated, and they were refused service and asked to leave. They remained in place until the store closed, starting the Greensboro Sit-ins. The movement quickly grew and spread.
Most sit-ins remained physically peaceful. However, the students were confronted with vicious verbal harassment. The response by white mobs in Chattanooga, TN and Jackson, MS was violent.
On July 25, 1960, the store manager in Greensboro ended the sit-in by asking black employees to order their lunch at the counter and instructing the counter employees to serve them. Harris’ version of events is summarized here. His scrapbook is at UNC Greensboro library (http://libcdm1.uncg.edu/…/conn/and!and!and/order/date/ad/asc )
Essentially, Clarence Harris said that it should be okay to not serve black people at the lunch counter because 30% of the Greensboro Woolworth employees were black and because white people wanted to eat with only white people. It was after several months of store losses which resulted in a substantial loss of Harris’ personal income (based on store sales) that Harris decided to integrate the lunch counter.
IMNSHO, Harris’ was a racist and gave in due to personal financial pressure. His was not the 5th seat.
PS They ordered COFFEE!1!!!
Forty years ago today, the last case of (naturally occuring) smallpox, Variola minor, was diagnosed in Somalia. Variola major last occurred in 1975. There were 2 strains.
While this is considered the day that we, as a planet, worked together and successfully eradicated smallpox, there was one death after this date. The last cases of smallpox in the world occurred in an outbreak of two cases (one of which was fatal) in Birmingham, UK in 1978. A medical photographer, Janet Parker, contracted the disease at the University of Birmingham Medical School and died on September 11, 1978, after which Professor Henry Bedson, the scientist responsible for smallpox research at the university, committed suicide.
Small pox still exists in labs, and earlier in 2017, Canadian scientists created horse pox in a small lab, for a small cost ($100,000), by nonspecialists, to demonstrate that it would be rather easy to unleash smallpox on the world again.
We must remain vigilant. The story of Janet Parker could have been the story of a world epidemic.
In 2016, there were only 37 wild cases of polio in the world. Unfortunately, there were 5 vaccine related cases as well. The oral polio vaccine (OPV) is not perfect, but inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is not effective in an outbreak situation. IPV does not prevent transmission because it isn’t particularly effective in the intestines. So the individual is protected, but the individual will still poop live polio virus if exposed and risk spreading the virus that way. So when an outbreak occurs, in order to offer protection to the uninfected population, OPV is the only option to prevent spreading the disease.
IPV is much more expensive than OPV and is the vaccination of choice in
most countries. IPV is safe and very effective.
Wild cases of polio are still occurring in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria. Vaccine-derived cases were reported in Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Laos (hopefully off the list for 2017).
I don’t understand why anyone would take the risk of not getting the IPV if available. The side effects of the vaccine are minimal and mild when they do occur. It offers excellent protection to the vaccinated individual. The probability of importing polio to the USA is low but not negligible, the probability of spreading the virus from feces is low but not negligible (flush a toilet in a shared restroom and the poop from everyone who has ever used that toilet is spewed up in the air, granted in very small amounts), and vaccinated people can spread the disease to unvaccinated people. Even if someone survives polio unscathed, later in life, secondary symptoms often develop. (image from United States Centers for Disease Control).
Happy Birthday to Jonas Salk