Photo: Colorlines Screenshot of various Ebony and Jet magazine covers, taken from Ebony’s Instagram page on June 16, 2016


Ebony and Jet have highlighted news stories that are marketed specifically towards African-Americans since 1945 and 1951 respectively.  Because sickle cell trait and disease affects many African-Americans, it has been covered in several articles in both Ebony and Jet magazines. According to the National Institute of Health, about 1 in 13 African-American babies are born with sickle cell trait and about 1 in 365 black children are born with sickle cell disease. In this section, we have summarized a few articles from a myriad of magazine articles from over several decades that discuss sickle cell.  These articles raise sickle cell awareness, highlight individual actors and organizations that have made a difference, share information, personal stories, and more.



“Incurable ‘Negro Disease’ Strikes Family of 5” (May 1966)

This article is one of the first stories covering sickle cell disease in Ebony magazine. It describes the financial and emotional hardships and challenges faced by the Johnson family from New York. Five of their six children have sickle cell anemia. Additionally, this piece highlights early research efforts and organizations working towards treatment and cures.

Click here to read the full article from Ebony on page 154.

“How I Cope with Sickle Cell” (February 1976)

Written by: Joseph R. Phillips, M.D.

Dr. Joseph R. Phillips writes about his personal experience coping with sickle cell from the perspective of a psychiatrist. Dr. Phillips shares how he came to not only accept that he had sickle cell, but how he learned to live life optimally.

Click here to read the full article from Ebony on page 104.

“Tampering with Genes: A New Threat to Blacks?” (September 1980)

Written by: Ron Harris

In this article, writer Ron Harris raises questions, challenges, and concerns within the growing fields of biotechnology and genetic engineering and examines the implications of scientific racism within these fields. Specifically, Harris discusses the consequences of abusing genetic screenings in the case of sickle cell disease, including discrimination by employers.

Click here to read the full article from Ebony on page 31.



“Senators Battle Nixon” (December 1971)

The article discusses leaders and legislators who  pushed the Senate to authorize a bill that would authorize $75 million over a three-year period to provide screening, counseling, and research into treatment for sickle cell.

Click here to read the full article from Jet on page 6.

“Black GI with Sickle Cell Victimized by Failure of Army to Screen Inductees” (February 1972)

In this article, Frank M. Fishburn tells Jet about his experience struggling to meet the strenuous physical demands of training for military duty in Vietnam due to the chronic pain caused by sickle cell disease.

Click here to read the full article from Jet on page 46.



National Institute of Health: National Heart, Lung, & Blood Institute. (2015, June). Who Is at Risk for Sickle Cell Disease? Retrieved from

“From Negro Digest to Ebony, Jet and EM”. Ebony. November 1992. pp. 50–55.