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photo Secret People
The Naked Face of Leprosy in America
By John Anderson & Laura Harrison

During the height of fears over AIDS, some "extremists" argued that people with such diseases should be forcibly isolated from the rest of the population. Most of us said, "that could never happen here." But once, and not all that long ago, it did.

From the 1920's to the late 1950's United States citizens with leprosy were forcibly transported, often in chains and in sealed box cars, to Carville, America's last leprosarium. Abandoned by family and friends, stripped of their constitutional rights to vote, to get married and bear children, even to use the telephone, many of Carville's "residents" nonetheless accomplished the remarkable act of transforming their prison into a home. Secret People tells a damning story of outrageous discrimination and stigma in our public health system, interwoven with a haunting and bittersweet chronicle of human courage and perseverance.

DVD version has both closed-captions and audio description.

58 minutes
© 1999
Purchase $199 DVD
Order No. QA-276
ISBN (DVD) 1-57295-992-4
close captioned

"When can people be deprived of their liberty in the name of public health? A fascinating tale of stigma, fear and medical ignorance, Secret People brings into sharp focus a series of critical questions about the relationship between medical authority, political power and freedom." Ronald Bayer, PhD, Columbia University School of Public Health

"This is one of the most impressive, most touching films I've ever seen. It's a learning experience about what it is to be human." Albert Maysles, Filmmaker

Awards & Conference Screenings
Gold Award, Worldfest Flagstaff
Silver, Health Sciences Communications Assn.
Bronze Apple, National Educational Media Network
DoubleTake Documentary Film Festival
Sinking Creek Film & Video Festival
Best Feature Documentary Runner-Up,
South by Southwest Film Festival

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Awards & Screenings

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Web Resources

To rent or purchase this film, please visit the Icarus Films website