She Won The Fight Against Whooping Cough

syringe for vaccine and bandaids
Leslie Taylor-Grover
February 14, 2021

Loney Gordon knew how much our people suffered from racism, poverty, and illness. She wanted to help our people be healthier – and she knew her role as a scientist was a great way to contribute. 

But she was apparently TOO good of a scientist, according to her white colleagues.

Gordon often found herself at odds with white doctors, who mistreated her cruelly, and racist dieticians, who refused to take orders from a Black woman – despite her credentials!  However, once Gordon started working in a research laboratory, things changed.

Whooping cough was killing far too many children. Highly contagious and incurable, the disease had white scientists stumped. Gordon examined thousands of strains of the bacteria that caused the disease – and discovered something that made all of her struggle worth it.

Not only did she develop a vaccine for the most contagious strain of the disease, but she kept finding new ways to mix even more powerful vaccines. This made her vaccines much more effective than those of her white counterparts. In the end, Gordon’s work allowed us to stamp out whooping cough COMPLETELY!

Without Gordon’s innovations in bacteriology, we would be sicker and worse off. We must recognize that from whooping cough to COVID, it pays to listen to the genius of Black women. After all, we have the receipts!

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