Recently I started researching people of color with vitiligo and I found out some interesting info. Several African Americans and other people of color were Side show/ Freak show performers.


During the 18th and 19th centuries in the United States, cases of vitiligo began to attract a great deal of interest from both the lay public and the medical community, and they began to carry interesting cultural implications. Perhaps the most recognized and influential case of vitiligo from this period was that of Henry Moss.

Henry Moss, a man of African descent who was born in Virginia, first began to experience depigmentation of his skin at the age of 38 years, beginning on his hands and eventually extending to his arms, legs, and face. Four years later, in the summer of 1796, he exhibited his body for a fee in taverns in the Philadelphia area as well as before members of the American Philosophical Society. Moss quickly became a popular attraction, and, according to Charles Caldwell,1 a noted physician, his name was “almost as familiar to the readers of newspapers and other periodicals . . . as was that of John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, or Madison.”





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  • Hi Neci,  I would  like to be a part of your group.  I have yet to take a picture and send it in but I will.  I have depigmentation largely on my back but it began on my little finger when I was 23.  I am now 66 and have depigmentation all over.  My hands are white and my face has spots that seem to be spreading fast.  I am reading a book that was advertised on the site.  I plan to change my diet and maybe it is not too late for me.

  • Verdis I noticed that also.

    • But we know we ain't freaks.  However we do embrace our uniqueness and go about our lives with a smile.  In the words of that great philophess Cawanda, " don't affect my swag."  I am my Father's child.

    • Until my research I no idea that people suffering with vitiligo were in sideshows. I am happy people can educate themselves about Vitiligo. Before I was diagnosed I didnt know much about it myself and this has been a learing process for me also.

    • One thing you will learn, to most people it don't matter.  They gonna accept you for who you are.  It helps you eliminate others from your life.  It also makes you think about how you treat others.  Remember - It's not what the heart is in, it's what is in the heart.

  • Even though they were considered freaks, they embraced their uniquness.  I noticed a lot of smiling faces.


    A letter from Frances


     Born in Johnson City, Tenn, of Normal Parents.....21..... Have Four Brothers and two sisters all normal. Married and have a normal son. Physicians claim my condition is caused by my mother, being in a delicate condition, was frightened by a spotted pony. Various hospitals and clinics have tried removing spots from body, but were un-successful... Hair grows in various shades and lengths on various parts of the body. Any further questions of my condition may be obtained by writing me personally, thanking you kindly for attending my performances.

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