Let My People Live (National Tuberculosis Association, 1938)

[Image of a chorus singing] [The National Tuberculosis Association cooperating
with Tuskegee Institute, National Urban League, Works Progress Administration, U.S. Veterans
Administration, presents] [Let My People Live] [Cast: Rex Ingram, Peggy Howard, Merritt Smith,
Erostine Coles, Robert Anderson, Christine Johnson, Jackson Burnside, Choir~William L. Dawson] [Directed by Edgar Ulmer, Dramatic Assistants:
S.E. Walker, Edward Lawson, Camera: William Miller, Sound: Nelson Minnerly, Produced By
Motion Picture Service Corporation, Variray Blue Seal Recording] [Dr. Gordon:] Before we go to our classes,
I want to say as your student medical advisor, one final word about tuberculosis. We, as
Negros, seem to be particularly susceptible to this disease. The reason is a great majority of our homes
are poor, and our work hard. And we don’t have money to get treated when we should.
Now if you have any of the symptoms of tuberculosis, such as coughing, unusual fatigue, a loss
of weight, go at once to a physician for an examination. Tuberculosis can be cured, but only if treatment
is started soon enough. [Speaker 1:] Thank you Dr. Gordon. Thus we
close our Negro Health Week Service. [ Singing ] [George:] Hello? [Mary:] Hello George? This is Mary. Yes, your
sister. George, Mama’s very sick. The doctor says you’d better come right home. [ Singing ] [Man standing nearby:] What’s the matter? [George:] My mother’s very sick. She has tuberculosis.
She’s had it for years. But she’s never seen a doctor. I have to go home. [Man:] Will this help you? [He hands George something] [George:] Thanks. I won’t forget this. [Singing in the background, as George walks out of the church and a bus pulls away.] [Choir sings Swing Low, Sweet Chariot as George disembarks from the bus and walks up the road to meet Mary,] [Mary:] George! George! [George:] Mary! [ Singing ] [Bell ringing] [Choral singing continues] [Speaker:] The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh
away. [ Singing ] [Reverend Jenkins:] The Lord giveth and the
Lord taketh away. But Oh Lord, let my people live. Come in Sister. [Mary:] It’s about Mama, Reverend Jenkins. [Reverend Jenkins:] She was a good woman Ms.
Maxville [phonetic]. [Mary:] She had tuberculosis. Consumption
she called it. I’m scared, Reverend Jenkins. They say it runs in the family. If Mama had it, then I have it too. [Reverend Jenkins:] No. I don’t know that
it means that at all. Some people think that tuberculosis can be passed down from mother
to child. That’s not true. I’m not a doctor, but I’ve read a lot about
tuberculosis, It comes from a germ and it’s passed along by contact of one person with
another. [Mary:] But I have the same symptoms Mama
had. I have a cough. I feel tired like she did all the time and I can’t eat. [Reverend Jenkins:] That’s not so good. [Mary:] But what can I do? [Reverend Jenkins:] You be smart! You go to
see your doctor. If you can’t afford that, go to a clinic. The doctor will test you and
tell you whether or not you have tuberculosis. If he says no, that’s fine. If he says yes,
do exactly what he tells you. But don’t let anyone tell you that tuberculosis can’t be
cured. [Mary:] All right. I’ll go to see Dr. Gordon
tomorrow. Good evening, Reverend Jenkins. Thank you. [Minnie:] Hello Mary, where are you going? [Mary:] To see Dr. Gordon. [Minnie:] Mm-hmm. I know’d it. You got the
same thing your mother had ain’t you? [Mary:] I’m not sure, Minnie. I’ve got to find out. [Minnie:] Listen honey, ain’t no use in you
fooling yourself, you know you got it. [Mary:] Well, I have to get treated. [Minnie:] So you’re going in there? Ha! Girl,
ain’t no doctor in the world can cure you of no tuberculosis. [Mary:] Well who can? [Minnie:] My grandma can. You see, she makes
this special kind of a tea out of herbs and roots and stuff and before you know it, old
consumption’s gone. She don’t charge half as much as this doctor does neither. [Mary:] My mother believed in that. Roots,
herbs, and teas. I’ve got to see Dr. Gordon. [Minnie:] Come on girl! [Mary is seen in bed in a medical facility. She is smiling and speaking to George, who’s seated at her bedside.] [Mary:] I’m getting better George. Dr. Gordon
said I was so sensible to come to see him so early. George, how about you? Of course
you weren’t with Mama as much as I was, but you might have caught it too. [George:] Oh I’m all right. [Mary:] You may feel all right. George, why
don’t you run over and let Dr. Gordon look you over. He’s a real doctor. Promise me you
will. [George:] Well, maybe I will. [George is seen in the doctor’s office, being examined.] [ George coughs and breathes out as the doctor
listens to his lungs.] [Dr. Gordon:] Well, I don’t hear anything.
But we aren’t through yet. Sit down, young man. [Dr. Gordon swabs George’s arm with a cotton ball and begins to prepare a syringe.] [George:] What’s that for, doctor? [Dr. Gordon:] I’m going to put a drop of this
solution into your arm. It’s called tuberculin. Now in two days, if the spot where I make
the injection is raised and reddened, it means that at one time in your life, tuberculosis
germs got into your body. [George:] Oh, it didn’t hurt a bit doc. [George:] How does it look, Doctor? [Dr. Gordon peers closely at George’s arm.] [Dr. Gordon:] Hmm. Positive. [George:] Does that mean I have tuberculosis? [Dr. Gordon:] No, but I’m going to send you
to a hospital to have an x-ray made. [Dr. Gordon:] Here’s a picture of your chest. Now that spot there is what we call a primary
lesion. It means that the germs got into your lungs at one time, maybe long ago. But you
were healthy and your body took care of it. [George:] Gee, I’m glad to hear that! [Dr. Gordon:] What you’ve got to do now is
to keep your good health. Don’t use up too much of your energy either in work or play,
or staying out late at night. Eat well-balanced meals and get plenty of
fresh air. If the danger signs of fatigue, coughing, loss of weight, or pains in the chest appear,
don’t fail to come in and see me. [George:] Thanks doctor! I’m certainly glad
to know I haven’t got it. Oh, how is Mary getting along? [Dr. Gordon:] Well, she’s getting the very
best of care at the sanatorium and she’ll be well pretty soon now. [George:] Gee.That’s swell. [Dr. Gordon:] Now you see why it’s so important
that tuberculosis be discovered early. Every young person, from 15 to 25, should have a
tuberculin test and an x-ray. You see, they may find as you did that they
need only rest and care. Or they may find that their lungs, like your sister’s, need
treatment right away. The quicker they know and the sooner they get treated, the better
their chances are to get well. This is especially true of our race. Many
of us wait too long before starting treatment. We must teach our people that tuberculosis
is curable. And we must show them that every person with
tuberculosis is a menace to his family if his case isn’t put under a doctor at once. [George:] Thanks doctor! You make me see things
in a different light. [Singing, as an institutional building with large white columns is pictured] [Mary:] I feel
as though I were right there. [Woman seated with Mary:] It’s too bad, Mary, you couldn’t
go down to see George graduate. But just think how lucky you are. You are well and have a
good job. [Mary:] Yes. [Singing in the background].
I wish Mama were here. I almost think I hear George’s voice. [ Singing ] [The End]

  1. What's with the Negro spiritual music? I LOVE African Americans, my best friend of 38 years is a sister, but oh man..

  2. My Mom, age 94, comes up positive, but does not have TB. She was exposed at age 3 from her grandfather. Today's doctors are kind of freaked out over it.

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