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June 1, 1840. U.S. Marshals are going door to door conducting the sixth-ever census in the United States. This year something is different – this is the very first time the U.S. government is asking a question about mental health. But the results are tragic, and long-lasting. Twenty-one years before the Civil War, with over two million slaves in America, this question will uphold a racist and pernicious lie that is already spreading throughout America: that freedom causes black people to go insane.


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