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Byron Bennett, left, and Dr. Jonas Salk in the University of Pittsburgh lab in 1954-55.Texans You Should Know is a series highlighting overlooked figures and events from Texas history. It’s easy to forget today, as we battle a different pandemic, but polio terrified Americans throughout the first half of the twentieth century. At the height of the epidemic, in 1952, more than 21,000 people, most of them children, were paralyzed from the disease. More than three thousand Americans died from polio that year. Life during that long-ago outbreak now seems eerily familiar. “You had to stay away from crowds, just like today,” remembers David Oshinsky, who grew up in the fifties and later wrote Polio: An American Story. “You couldn’t go swimming, bowling, or to the movies.” A constant, low-level anxiety was the norm; Oshinsky recalls that his parents…

The post The Forgotten Texas Scientist Who Helped Develop the Polio Vaccine appeared first on Texas Monthly.

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