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Virtual History Happy Hour – NPR’s Pam Fessler

Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm


Carville’s Cure: Leprosy, Stigma, and the Fight for Justice

NPR Correspondent Pam Fessler talks about the little known story of a U.S. government leprosarium in Carville, Louisiana, where thousands of Americans were confined, often against their will and for the rest of their lives. The patients — including Fessler’s husband’s grandfather — were the victims of the centuries-old stigma surrounding leprosy, which is one of the least contagious diseases. But the Carville patients fought back and eventually regained their freedom and rights, in an inspiring story of hope and resilience.

In our new age of infectious disease, Carville’s Cure demonstrates the necessity of combating misinformation and stigma if we hope to control the spread of illness without demonizing victims and needlessly destroying lives.

Pam Fessler is a correspondent on NPR’s National Desk, where she covers poverty, philanthropy, and voting issues. In her reporting at NPR, Fessler does stories on homelessness, hunger, affordable housing, and income inequality. She reports on what non-profit groups, the government, and others are doing to reduce poverty and how those efforts are working. Her poverty reporting was recognized with a 2011 First Place National Headliner Award.

Fessler also covers elections and voting, including efforts to make voting more accessible, accurate, and secure. She has done countless stories on everything from the debate over state voter identification laws to Russian hacking attempts and long lines at the polls.

Program moderators are Dr. Anne Savarese and Ms. Carolyn Savarese.  Dr. Savarese is the former division chief of Pediatric Anesthesiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center and an Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Her clinical expertise is the anesthetic management of neonates, infants, and children undergoing complex repairs of congenital heart disease.  She has been recognized multiple times as a “teacher of the year” in her Department and as a “Top Doctor” in Baltimore Magazine.  Carolyn Savarese is a literary agent with Kneerim & Williams.  She was previously with The Perseus Book Group.  She has worked on behalf of authors such as Elizabeth Warren, Samantha Power, George Soros, Henry Louis Gates, Christopher Hitchens, and many more.

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