If you happen to be a teacher looking for a lesson plan, or a student looking for a topic on which to write a paper in connection with Black History Month,  O’Shaughnessy’s has published some original material that has not been widely publicized. 

• James A. Washington was the Washington,  DC Superior Court Judge who presided over United States v. Robert Randall. It was Judge Washington’s acceptance of Randall’s “medical necessity” argument that led to the federal government’s begrudging creation of an “investigational new drug” protocol in the late 1970s.  Read James A. Washington: Unsung Hero.

•  Undercover police investigators determined in the late 1930s that some 500 “teapads” were operating in Harlem —about as many dispensaries as in LA nowadays.  The cops were unbiased, out to determine the actual impact of marijuana use. Their findings are quoted in Marijuana Use in NYC…  All Those Years Ago.

• Louis Armstrong so openly discussed the benefits of cannabis that historian Michael Krawitz calls him “the first activist. Some of Armstrong’s riffs on the subject can be found here —“Tight Gage —More a Medicine Then a Dope”

• Ricky Williams’ decision to quite football in 2004 was recounted in Ricky Williams Protests Drug Testing by Quitting Football; Calls Marijuana “10 Times Better for me Than Paxil.”  When Williams returned to the NFL in 2005 to fulfill his contract to the Miami Dolphins,  Mike Wallace gloated on 60 Minutes that the power of money had prevailed. Our follow-up story quotes Williams: “My loyalty is to the truth, not to consistency.”

*  John C. Merritt, MD, was a young opthalmologist on the faculty at Howard University College of Medicine who, in the 1970s, conducted pioneering studies establishing that smoking marijuana lowers intraocular pressure and can there be a treatment for glaucoma. “My interest in marijuana’s IOP-reducing properties was twofold,” said Merritt. “First, glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness and improved medical treatments for the disease are critically needed. Second, glaucoma disproportionately affects people of color.”  In 2010 O’Shaughnessy’s published Marijuana in the Treatment of Glaucoma: an Affidavit by Dr. Merritt.

I’m so old I can remember when it was Negro History Week. And two verses of—

Lift every voice and sing, till earth and heaven ring

Ring with the harmonies of liberty…

Fred G.