Why Nightfall Struck Fear In Countless Black Communities

Visit of the Ku Klux Klan 1872
Leslie Taylor-Grover
January 4, 2021

Black bodies have always been fascinating to racists. From our ability to resist the diseases Europeans brought to the U.S. colonies to the way our bodies fight cancer, we are medical marvels. But our communities have paid a heavy price.

Once the racists who enslaved us could no longer use our living bodies for their medical needs, graverobbing became lucrative. That meant that even our dead bodies weren’t safe! But that was just the beginning.

Racists still wanted to exploit our bodies for profit, so they played up the myth of “night doctors:” medical students who robbed graves for Black bodies to experiment on. However, these sadistic sociopaths took it one step further. Unsatisfied with dead bodies, some racists kidnapped our people who were out at night, and murdered them!

Were the stories true?

“Night doctors” were in some sense folklore, a myth created to instill fear in us, to keep us from leaving or searching for better economic opportunities. But the Tuskegee experiment shows there was definitely some truth to the stories.

“Night doctors” were a form of social control racists used to exploit our bodies and instill fear in our minds to keep us as cheap labor after enslavement was outlawed. We must always seek to defend ourselves against those who would do us physical and emotional harm!


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