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Deborah I. Levine

physician, scientist, professor, public health official, and first African American surgeon general of the United States, was born Minnie Lee Jones in the small town of Schaal, Arkansas, the oldest of eight children of Curtis Jones, a sharecropper, and Haller Reed Jones. As a child, Jones performed the hard labor demanded of Arkansas farmers and their families, and she often led her younger siblings in their work on the small cotton farm. The family home was an unpainted three-room shack with no indoor plumbing or electricity, and there was no hospital or physician for miles around. Jones watched her mother give birth seven times without medical assistance; the only memory she has of a visit to a physician was when her father took a gravely ill younger brother twelve miles by mule to the nearest doctor.

Haller Jones was determined that her children would ...

Article

Kenneth R. Manning

physician, microbiologist, and public health specialist, was born on a farm near Memphis, Tennessee, the son of Fred Poindexter and Luvenia Gilberta Clarke, tenant farmers. After attending the normal (teacher training) department of Swift Memorial College, a Presbyterian school for blacks in Rogersville, Tennessee (1916–1920), he entered Lincoln University in Pennsylvania and graduated with an AB cum laude in 1924. Also in 1924 he married Ruth Viola Grier, with whom he would have one child, a daughter. He attended Dartmouth Medical School for two years before earning an MD at Harvard University in 1929, an AM in Bacteriology at Columbia University in 1930, a PhD in Bacteriology and Parasitology at Columbia in 1932, and an MPH from Columbia in 1937.

Poindexter had hoped to proceed directly into public health fieldwork in 1929 following his graduation from Harvard ...

Article

The son of a barber, Daniel Hale Williams lived on his own after the age of twelve. As a youth, he worked as a shoemaker, a roustabout on a lake steamer, and a barber. Moving with his sister to Wisconsin he met Henry Palmer, a prominent physician, the surgeon general of Wisconsin for ten years. Williams was apprenticed by Palmer, who became his mentor and helped pay his tuition at the Chicago Medical School.

Graduating with an M.D. in 1883, Williams opened a medical practice on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois. An adept doctor, he served as an attending physician at the Protestant Orphan Asylum and as a surgeon at the South Side Dispensary. Williams also worked as a clinical instructor at the Chicago Medical College and as a physician with the City Railway Company. He was appointed in 1889 to the Illinois Board of ...