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George White

psychiatrist, educational reformer, and author. Born to working-class parents during the Great Depression, James Pierpont Comer became a world-renowned child psychiatrist. He spent his childhood in East Chicago, Indiana, but then traveled to the East Coast and did work at some of America's most prestigious academic institutions. By the early twenty-first century he stood as an intellectual pioneer and an advocate for disadvantaged children.

Comer's parents lacked extensive formal education, and both worked outside the home—his father as a laborer at a steel mill and his mother as a domestic. Yet they created an environment that cultivated self-esteem, confidence, and high academic achievement for James and his siblings. After completing high school in 1952, Comer attended and graduated from Indiana University, but his negative experiences in Bloomington encouraged him to attend medical school elsewhere. He earned his MD in 1960 from Howard University and a ...

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Willie Hobbs

psychiatrist, author, and educator, was born in the East Harlem section of New York City, the seventh of eight children of Christopher Poussaint, a typographer and printer, and Harriet Johnston Poussaint, a homemaker. At the age of nine, Poussaint was stricken with rheumatic fever. A lengthy convalescence forced him to take up reading and avoid most of the physical activities that other children his age would normally participate in. But it was his love of reading that flourished during this time and fueled his academic prowess. His thirst for knowledge carried into extracurricular activities, where he taught himself how to play the clarinet, the saxophone, and flute.

Poussaint graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1952. He immediately went on to attend Columbia University as a premedical student with a concentration in French, and he graduated in 1956 In medical school Poussaint chose to ...