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The Post and Courier provides a forum for our readers to share their opinions, and to hold up a mirror to our community. Publication does not imply endorsement by the newspaper; the editorial staff attempts to select a representative sample of letters because we believe it’s important to let our readers see the range of opinions their neighbors submit for publication.

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Letters to the Editor: Open carry law makes law enforcement more difficult

Open carry (copy)

A man exercises his open carry rights in Ohio in 2016. South Carolina has similar laws, but the city of Charleston is considering passing a local restriction on carrying assault weapons. 

The state Legislature is debating an “open carry” law. Public health experts have done numerous studies to figure out what might work in mitigating gun violence in our communities. Open carry is not one of them.

Quite the contrary, open carry laws make the work of law enforcement a great deal harder.

As Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds pointed out in testimony on Feb. 10 that if this proposal were to become law, police would have to cope with a situation in which there would be “a greater potential for disagreements to turn violent.”

With in open carry law in place, imagine the potential for intimidation and deadly violence.

I implore all law-abiding, safety-conscious citizens to let their representatives know that passing this misguided legislation will only exacerbate the scourge of gun-violence in our communities.

SIMON LEWIS

Dunnemann Avenue

Charleston

MUSC’s black history

In its eagerness to promote black medical achievements, MUSC’s full-page ad “celebrating” Black History Month in the Feb. 7 Post and Courier is disingenuous and self-serving, using images that ask us to overlook the school’s nearly 200-year history of racism.

The ad’s lead image is not the Medical College of South Carolina, but the Hospital and Training School for Nurses, established in 1897 by black physicians, nurses, pharmacists and dentists precisely because of the racial discrimination they faced by the Medical College, which refused to admit black students or credential black physicians.

At no time was the Hospital and Training School for Nurses owned or operated by the Medical College of South Carolina. However, MUSC does take great pains to claim affiliation with the “Cannon Street Hospital” (as it was later known) to appropriate the successes of this autonomous black institution to offset MUSC’s failure to serve the health care needs of the black community.

The ad’s image of the 1969 Hospital Workers Strike is particularly tone-deaf. The women and men who went on strike were vilified by MUSC and its highest administrators. They were fired and threatened. This image now is used to imply that MUSC was supportive of these strikers and the racial and economic justice they demanded.

Dr. Bernard W. Deas is celebrated as MUSC’s first black graduate, 147 years after its founding, without any acknowledgment of the numerous, documented examples of overtly racist acts by white students and faculty members. These daily insults and humiliations against black student resulted in post-traumatic stress, which many of these graduates now refer to as the “Charleston Syndrome.”

Has MUSC made progress? Yes, demonstrably; but MUSC must be honest about its origins and acknowledge the exploitation of black bodies on which the medical school itself was built. The antebellum period was full of medical experimentation on enslaved individuals. White students learned human anatomy by dissecting black bodies, using the racist pseudo-scientific argument of polygenesis to claim their subjects were a different species.

A genuine celebration of Black History Month by MUSC must include a complete accounting of how the institution was rooted in and benefited from slavery and subsequent racial segregation and discrimination. Other colleges and universities, in South Carolina and around the country, have done this self-examination; it’s time for MUSC to follow suit.

SUSAN DICK HOFFIUS

Get a weekly recap of South Carolina opinion and analysis from The Post and Courier in your inbox on Monday evenings.


Former curator, associate professor

MUSC’s Waring Historical Library

Peachtree Street

Charleston

Kudos to MUSC

I would like to thank MUSC for its celebration of Black History month with a full-page feature on Charleston’s African American medical milestones. The effort to present another side of Charleston’s history is admirable.

Thank you for pointing out Dr. Lucy Hughes Brown was “the first Black female physician in the area.”

May I add that Dr. Brown was not just the first black female physician, she was the first female physician of any race or ethnicity to practice in the area.

Yes, Charleston’s first female doctor was an African American. Dr. Brown also was the second woman licensed to practice medicine in the state.

Thank you for pointing out that in 1897, “The Hospital and Training School for Nurses is opened for the education and treatment of African Americans.”

Might I add, for clarity, the Cannon Street Hospital was founded by black physicians to meet a need and was not affiliated with MUSC.

Why was Cannon Street Hospital established? Because, in 1897, all local hospitals, including the College of Medicine, which is known as MUSC today, refused to allow the training of black nurses, even in black wards.

When the Cannon Street Hospital opened, Dr. Brown was the head of the nurses training school, the first one in our state.

I hope this information adds to the understanding of Charleston’s African American medical history.

And someone needs to write the biography of Dr. Lucy Hughes Brown. I promise to buy a copy.

RUTH MILLER

Manchester Road

Charleston

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