Viewing page 4 of 18
It looks like you're using a mobile device. We recommend using a physical keyboard for transcription entry.
tumor had grown untreated and unchecked for ten months after the first symptoms had appeared. There had been signs of trouble nearly a year before. Headaches. Dizziness. Moments of unnerving blindness. Imprisoned in the Federal Penitentiary at Terre Haute, Indiana, he was serving the third year of an eight-year prison term imposed upon him because he was one of the Negro leaders of the Communist Party. He was an exemplary prisoner. He was respected by his fellow prisoners. He was respected by the guards. He had caused no trouble and had had no trouble. Till this trouble began... On a day in the spring of 1959, it was April and warm, he began to feel dizzy when he walked. His eyes bothered him. Ah, it's nothing, he may have thought. He was afterall a great and strapping man with a strong build. He was as healthy as could be. He had an easygoing, happy way about him as though he was at ease with the world and himself. He had a gentle smile, and an open face. Young Negro prisoners came to him with their troubles, their letters from home, their loneliness. "Dad" the young ones called him and he consoled them. He helped them as much as one prisoner can help another prisoner. If things troubled Henry Winston, he kept them within himself; but this thing would not stay inside of him. Going into the prison mess-hall, his tray in his hands, his legs would abruptly buckle and his friends had to keep him from falling. Walking became an ordeal. In the furniture shop, where he worked moving heavy barrels, his fellow inmates had to help him, for he would suddenly black out. He began to find it difficult to keep up with the ordinary prison routine. Lazy, the prison authorities said. Cynically they accused 6 [[end page]] [[start page]] him of "malingering," of loafing - the old, old accusation so familiar in the racist lexicon that Negroes have been hearing for so many years. Henry Winston who never complained finally complained. The medical staff of the Terre Haute Penitentiary examined him. High blood pressure, they said. You have borderline hypertension, they said. His condition grew worse. They said: Lose weight. His condition grew worse. They said: Go on a diet. His condition grew worse. They gave him seasickness pills. May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and December came and went and nothing was done. No X-ray was taken. No cardiograph. Nothing. His headaches became sever. Piercing pain drummed constantly at his skull just above and behind his right ear. His pathetic attempts to walk ended in helpless falls and the attacks of dizziness increased in frequency. Frightening, more frightening that all of this, however, was the realization that he was going blind and that no one in authority would help him. no one seemed to care. His eyes were hemorrhaging. Day by day his eyesight grew dimmer, and his eyes burnt like cinders. Examined by prison doctors, with reluctance and disdain, it was duly noted that the retina of one eye had hemorrhaged severely and so he was given - more seasickness pills. No other but routine medical examinations of Henry Winston's condition were made in all those months of his misery, from April to January. That January, ten months after the first symptoms of the brain tumor had appeared, Henry Winston was at long last hospitalized. Yet, even this begrudging act of mercy and medicine was not offered the deathly ill man until complaints and protests had reached such proportions that they could no longer be ignored. 7
Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact email@example.com.