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‘John Henryism’: The hidden health impact of race inequality

The stress of racial inequality can be deadly. In the latest in our series Wise Words, we explore how a black American folk hero gave a name to the...

It was a story of man against machine.

In the 1800s, the black American railroad worker John Henry faced a contest that would tax his strength enough to kill him.

  • Richard Fisher
  • BBC

According to the legend, Henry’s job was to hammer metal rods into rock, ready for explosives.

One day, he was pitted in a race against a steam-powered drill, which required much less toil, and threatened the workers’ livelihoods.

Against the odds…

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