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November 2016

Piebaldism in History—“The Zebra People”

Author Affiliations
  • 1State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn
JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(11):1261. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.6064

For the 2007 bicentenary of the parliamentary abolition of slavery in the British Empire, the Hunterian Museum at the London Royal College of Surgeons held an exhibition on the hidden lives of black Africans living with pigmentary conditions in the 18th and 19th centuries.1 The exhibition, titled “Exhibiting Difference,” explored the intersections of race and identity and how Enlightenment-era Europeans viewed black Africans with “visible differences.” Its centerpieces were 2 paintings of black slave children with piebaldism—Mary-Sabina of a South American plantation in 1736 and George Alexander Gratton of St Vincent in 1808.

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