Because of the dark skin, Rush thought the condition was similar to leprosy. The only cure for the condition “was to become white.” Henry Moss, a slave who lost his dark skin color (due to real medical condition) was used as Rush’s case study. Rush believed without a shadow of a doubt that being black was curable.
He wrote “Whites should not tyrannize over [blacks], for their disease should entitle them to a double portion of humanity. However, by the same token, whites should not intermarry with them, for this would tend to infect posterity with the ‘disorder’… attempts must be made to cure the disease.” It is unclear as to how many cases Negritude was treated and if Rush had any success in “turning a black person white.”
Dr. Rush was a member of the Continental Congress, and in 1776 was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. He served as surgeon-general, and later physician-general, of the Continental army. In 1799 he was appointed Treasurer of the U.S. Mint.