Wednesday, April 23, 2014

20,000 Die Needlessly Each Year in North Carolina, Gov. Craig Calls These “Our Sins of Omission” 1919

From April 1919 issue of The Health Bulletin, published by the North Carolina State Board of Health, from a speech delivered in Raleigh on April 8th.

We think of North Carolina as the healthiest state in the Union, but it is more unhealthy than any state in the Union, according to vital statistics of those states that have vital statistics. 

It ought to be the healthiest. We have a salubrious climate of shore and hills and mountains, pure water and invigorating atmosphere. But in North Carolina 20,000 people die every year from diseases that could be prevented or postponed, to say nothing of the sorrow and the suffering. This should not be. 

We allow pestilence to stalk abroad in our state to wound and weaken and to kill. There are 20,000 victims condemned to death that we could save. 

We allow malaria and typhoid fever and tuberculosis and other diseases that could be prevented to weaken our people and to sap the manhood and womanhood of our race. This should not be. The hospitals for the insane, and for the blind and deaf and dumb, are filled with victims that could have been rescued from a life of desolation and darkness by proper health conditions. 

The Isthmus of Panama is now a healthier place than North Carolina. The preventable diseases which we allow to exist have been largely banished from the Isthmus of Panama. I want to see the time come when every home in North Carolina will be protected by health laws and health regulations. When every home will have screens to keep the flies out, and a bath tub in which to wash the men and children,--the women keep clean under all circumstances. Cleanliness and health and happiness go hand in hand.

Eighty per cent of the people of North Carolina live in the country, and have not the conveniences and the protection of the people in the towns. If you would build up North Carolina and make her realize the destiny which is hers by right, you must remember that two million of farmers in this state—the men that pay the taxes, fight the battles and vote the Democratic ticket. It resolves itself at least into a question of the preservation and the defense of the home.

Our reason for being here to-day is primarily to protect our homes. This is the highest reason that calls us here. I want to see the time come when every child in North Carolina will have as good an opportunity as any other child in the world. I want to see him have an opportunity to attain to his highest possibilities in physical and intellectual and moral strength. I want to see rural districts lifted up. I want to see a nobler and a higher way of living. The obligation is upon the Democratic party, the dominant party of the state. This is the party of all the people, and its laws should take into consideration the welfare and protection of all the people.

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