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<Sickle Cell Anemia>

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Harris, Jesse
Birth Year : 1942
Death Year : 2012
Jesse Harris was from New Castle, KY, the son of Irvin and Mattie L. Scott Harris. Jesse was a civil rights activists and a community leader in both Henry County and in Louisville, KY. He belonged to a number of organizations.  In 1974, he was named secretary-treasurer of the African American men's group in Henry County called People for Progress. Three years later, he was appointed by the Henry County Judge-Executive to open the county's first Youth Service Bureau for African American teens. For more than 35 years, Jesse Harris was an employee of Fischer's Packing Company, and during which time he was an organizer of UFCW (United Food & Commercial Workers International Union) Local 227. He also served as the state labor chair for the NAACP. He was a broadcaster at WLOU 1350 radio station in Louisville. Jesse Harris is most noted as the founder and president of Faces of Our Children Sickle Cell Foundation, and as the founder of the first and only Sickle Cell Choir. The foundation raises awareness and provides support and funding for the fight against sickle cell disease worldwide. For more see Dr. Jesse Harris in the Louisville Courier-Journal, 09/26/2012, obituaries section.


  See photo image and additional information on Jesse Harris at the website, "Homegoing of a Saint: Dr. Jesse Harris, Louisville, Kentucky," 09/23/2012. 
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Union Organizations, Sickle Cell Anemia
Geographic Region: New Castle, Henry County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Kentucky Sickle Cell Disease Detection Act of 1972 - KRS 402.310-340
Start Year : 1972
In 1972, the National Sickle-Cell Anemia Control Act became law, and millions of dollars were authorized for state research, screening and counseling programs. The Kentucky Sickle Cell Disease Detection Act of 1972 went into effect January 1, 1973. The law required all newborn African American babies and African Americans applying for a marriage license to be tested for Sickle Cell Anemia. The Secretary for Health and Family Services was responsible for adopting the rules and regulations for the administration and enforcement of the law. The testing was to be confidential and the sample was to be sent to the Division of Laboratory Services, State Department of Health, or to an approved laboratory. As with other couples applying for marriage, the sample would also be tested for any other genetically transmitted disease that affected hemoglobin. If both members of the couple tested positive, then they were to receive genetic counseling from a doctor or to be referred to the Department of Health or an approved agency. Applicants could not be denied a marriage license due to the test results. Dr. Maurice Rabb, a member of the National NAACP, and others were opposed to the law. Dr. Rabb was present at the hearing held by the Kentucky Board of Health in January 1973, and he voiced his concern that the new law was targeted to one group of people when all people should be tested. Lyman T. Johnson was also present at the meeting, and he questioned whether the new law was an infringement on the rights of African Americans. In 1974, the testing of African American newborns was repealed. That same year, KRS 402.320, Kentucky Sickle Cell Disease Detection Act of 1972, Revised Statute, Section 1, was amended for the continued testing of African American marriage applicants. Blood tests are no longer required of any marriage applicant in Kentucky. The most recently Revised Sickle Cell Disease Detection Act of 1972 makes testing and counseling available to all marriage applicants. For more see Ky Acts ch. 122, sec. 1; Repealed 1974 Ky Acts ch. 273, sec.3; Ky Acts ch. 273, sec. 1; Kentucky Revised Statutes KRS Chapter 402.00; "Sickle Cell Law draws opposition," Sunday Herald-Leader, 01/28/1973, p. 50; and "Sickle Cell Testing Law now in effect," Lexington Leader, 03/16/1973, p. 10. For more about the nation-wide legislative attention suddenly given to Sickle Cell Anemia in the 1970s, see President Richard Nixon, "155 - Statement on Signing the National Sickle Cell Anemia Control Act," 05/16/1972, available online at; Patient in the Womb, by E. P. Volpe; and Backdoor to Eugenics, by T. Duster.
Subjects: NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Sickle Cell Anemia
Geographic Region: Kentucky


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