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Madness: Race and Insanity in a Jim Crow Asylum - Hardcover

$30.00

Madness: Race and Insanity in a Jim Crow Asylum - Hardcover - Balance of Power

Madness: Race and Insanity in a Jim Crow Asylum - Hardcover

$30.00

Bestseller: New York Times - USA Today - National Indie

Amazon Editor’s Pick for Best Books

ELLE Magazine's Best (and Most Anticipated) Nonfiction Books of 2024 

Entertainment Weekly’s Best Books to Read 2024

In the tradition of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, a page-turning 93-year history of Crownsville Hospital, one of the nation's last segregated asylums, that the New York Times described as "fascinating...meticulous research" and bestselling author Clint Smith endorsed it as "a book that left me breathless."

“Hylton writes a scathing exposé on the bigotry that led to the mistreatment of hundreds of Black patients and the attempts to cover it up. Her book is also a call to action to reform the systems that treat people diagnosed with mental illnesses…This well-researched title is an important chronicle of the treatment of Black Americans and their mental health during the Jim Crow era. Beyond promoting systemic change, Hylton compels readers to look within to assess how they treat and view the people around them.”Library Journal

“As masterfully recounted by journalist Antonia Hylton, from 1911 to 2004 the hospital exemplified and exploited society’s anxieties around Blackness and mental illness. In a time when medical racism and the prison industrial complex continue to tear apart families, this impeccably researched accounting is a must-read.” - Oprah Daily

Madness is a necessary and unforgettable book. It is a particular story of a Jim Crow institution that devastated the lives of many suffering Black Americans, but it is also a collective story about how mental health care is a social justice issue, and a personal story about love, loss, and holding onto loved ones through the ravages of living. With powerful and vulnerable writing, alongside diligent research, Hylton has delivered an important and timely work.”- Imani Perry, National Book Award winner and New York Times bestselling author of South to America

On a cold day in March of 1911, officials marched twelve Black men into the heart of a forest in Maryland. Under the supervision of a doctor, the men were forced to clear the land, pour cement, lay bricks, and harvest tobacco. When construction finished, they became the first twelve patients of the state's Hospital for the Negro Insane. For centuries, Black patients have been absent from our history books. Madness transports readers behind the brick walls of a Jim Crow asylum.

In Madness, Peabody and Emmy award-winning journalist Antonia Hylton tells the 93-year-old history of Crownsville Hospital, one of the last segregated asylums with surviving records and a campus that still stands to this day in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. She blends the intimate tales of patients and employees whose lives were shaped by Crownsville with a decade-worth of investigative research and archival documents. Madness chronicles the stories of Black families whose mental health suffered as they tried, and sometimes failed, to find safety and dignity. Hylton also grapples with her own family's experiences with mental illness, and the secrecy and shame that it reproduced for generations.

As Crownsville Hospital grew from an antebellum-style work camp to a tiny city sitting on 1,500 acres, the institution became a microcosm of America's evolving battles over slavery, racial integration, and civil rights. During its peak years, the hospital's wards were overflowing with almost 2,700 patients. By the end of the 20th-century, the asylum faded from view as prisons and jails became America's new focus.

In Madness, Hylton traces the legacy of slavery to the treatment of Black people's bodies and minds in our current mental healthcare system. It is a captivating and heartbreaking meditation on how America decides who is sick or criminal, and who is worthy of our care or irredeemable.

Author Biography

Antonia Hylton is a Peabody and Emmy-award winning journalist at NBC News reporting on politics and civil rights, and the co-host of the hit podcast Southlake and Grapevine. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University, where she received prizes for her investigative research on race, mass incarceration and the history of psychiatry. She lives in Brooklyn.

Number of Pages: 368
Publication date: January 23, 2024
Dimensions: 1 x 9.24 x 6.31 IN

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