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South African surgeon who carried out the world’s first human-to-human heart transplant, was born into an impoverished Afrikaner family at Beaufort West, South Africa, on 8 November 1922. His father, the Reverend Adam Hendrik Barnard, was a clergyman of the Dutch Reformed Church for Coloured, or mixed-race, people, and his mother was Maria Elisabeth de Swart. He was educated at Beaufort West High School before training as a doctor at the University of Cape Town’s medical school, where he graduated MB, ChB, in 1945. Having done his internship at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, he worked for a short time as a rural general practitioner in Ceres, in the western Cape, before returning to Cape Town to become senior medical officer at City Hospital and then registrar at Groote Schuur Hospital. In 1953 he gained his MD for his dissertation The Treatment of Tuberculosis Meningitis Later ...

Article

Susan Shifrin

was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, the only child of William Lafayette Chinn, a slave who had escaped to freedom at the age of eleven from the Chinn (Cheyne) plantation in Virginia, and his wife, Lula Ann Evans, who was born on a Chickahominy Indian reservation near Norfolk, Virginia.

When May was three years old her family moved to New York Her mother wishing to protect her from the distress caused by her father s alcoholism and determined that her daughter would receive a good education sent her at the age of five or six to boarding school at the Bordentown Manual Training and Industrial School Forced to leave school when she developed osteomyelitis May went to live with her mother on the estate of the Tiffanys the wealthy white family famed for its retail line of jewelry silver and china Although her mother was working for ...

Article

Lawrie Balfour

Born in the Panama Canal Zone, Kenneth Bancroft Clark grew up with his mother in Harlem, New York. His childhood heroes included poet Countee Cullen, who taught at his junior high school, and book collector Arthur Schomburg, who served as curator at the 135th Street branch of the New York Public Library. After attending integrated elementary and junior high schools, Clark graduated from New York's George Washington High School in 1931.

Clark distinguished himself as an undergraduate at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he led demonstrations against segregation. While at Howard he met Mamie Phipps, who became his wife and closest intellectual collaborator. The Clarks then went to Columbia University in New York City to study psychology, and in 1940 Kenneth Clark became Columbia s first black recipient of a Ph D degree in psychology Clark joined the faculty of City College ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Senegalese medical researcher and government minister of health, was born in 1951 in Dakar, Senegal. She attended primary and secondary schools in Dakar, where she drew attention because of her aptitude for science and her athleticism. She played on the Senegalese national women’s basketball team in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Coll-Seck received a medical degree from the University of Dakar in 1978 and commenced her medical practice the same year. She worked as a doctor in hospitals in the French city of Lyons as well as her hometown of Dakar in the late 1970s and the 1980s.

In 1989 Coll-Seck was named to the faculty of the medical school of the University of Dakar and chief medical officer of infectious diseases at the Dakar public hospital. In the 1990s Coll Seck was noticed by the international medical and public health community for her ...

Article

Miguel Gonzalez Perez

was born in Bilwaskarma, in Nicaragua’s North Atlantic Autonomous Region, on 10 November 1947. She is best known for the leading role she played in promoting the peace negotiation process that in 1986 ended a ten-year military conflict that pitted the FSLN (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, or Sandinista National Liberation Front) revolutionary government against the Miskito indigenous rebels who were struggling for autonomy along the Nicaraguan Caribbean coast. She is also an international advocate for the rights of indigenous peoples.

Cunningham grew up in Waspam the capital city of the Wangki River region near the border with Honduras which is considered the motherland of the Miskito people She was born to Nester Judith Kain Nelson and Wilfred Bill Cunningham Davis both from Pearl Lagoon on the southern part of the Caribbean coast She grew up in a working class family of mixed cultural heritage of Miskito African and ...

Article

Amy M. Hay

Edwards’s service was also recognized in 1967 when she received the Poverello Medal, awarded to individuals whose lives followed the ideals of Saint Francis of Assisi. Blessed with financial and familial support, her ministry to poor European immigrants and Mexican migrants, her own life of voluntary poverty, and her service to the African American community all made her a worthy recipient of such honors. She spent a lifetime addressing the needs of the poor, women, students, and the aged.

Edwards was born in Washington, DC. Her parents, Thomas Edwards, a professor of dentistry at Howard University, and Marie Coakley Edwards, had three other children. Edwards grew up in a middle-class family, part of the capital’s elite society at the time. At an early age she decided she wanted to become a doctor. She attended Washington’s Dunbar High School, graduating in 1917 as valedictorian She attended Howard ...

Article

Dawne Y. Curry

On 8 September 1993, Bill Clinton, the forty-second president of the United States, selected Joycelyn Elders as the nation’s surgeon general of the Public Health Service. In this capacity, Elders argued for legislation supporting universal health coverage and advocated on behalf of President Clinton’s health care reform effort. While Elders lobbied for comprehensive health education, she also supported sex education in secondary schools. Her rather blunt opinions, especially concerning masturbation and safe sex, earned her the nickname “Condom Queen.” In 1994, after fifteen months of service, she resigned from this appointment. Elders returned to the University of Arkansas Medical Center, where she had previously served as a professor of pediatrics.

Elders was born Minnie Lee Jones in Schaal, Arkansas. Her mother, Haller, and her father, Curtis Jones were sharecroppers subject to the appalling poverty and exploitation of that position in the South Minnie the oldest ...

Article

Margaret Jerrido

who was born in Norfolk, Virginia, the daughter of Benjamin Richard Boulding and Florence Ruffin Boulding. In Dorothy’s oral history she admits that she is not certain about her birthdate because when she was born, births for blacks were not registered in Norfolk. For social security and school purposes her father provided the date of 10 October 1898. Her two older brothers were educated in the public schools of Norfolk, but because her mother was very ill following Dorothy’s birth, the child was sent to Boston and taken care of by her great aunt, Emma Ruffin, who played an important role in her early education. Dorothy attended primary school from 1904 to 1906 in the West End of Boston and then attended Bowdoin, a grammar school, also located in the West End, from 1906 to 1908 The health of Dorothy s mother greatly improved over these ...

Article

Karl Rodabaugh

Americancomedian and satirist, human and civil rights activist, author, and nutritionist. Richard Claxton “Dick” Gregory has been recognized as the first African American comedian to break through to white audiences on a national level. Appearing at the Playboy Club and other trendy Chicago nightclubs, Gregory gained fame as a stand-up comic whose humor offered a lighter side to the emerging civil rights movement. From the perspective of comedic history, Gregory is listed alongside other “satirical renaissance” comics of the 1950s and 1960s—Mort Sahl, Lenny Bruce, Woody Allen, and Shelley Berman. By the early 1960s Dick Gregory and other satirical comics had been brought to the fore by the supportive hosts of the Tonight Show: Steve Allen, Jack Paar, and Johnny Carson.

Gregory was popular among urbane whites sympathetic to the early civil rights movement They readily ...

Article

Frédéric Grah Mel

first president of the Ivory Coast, was born in Yamoussoukro, the country’s current political capital. His father was an unknown gold washer whose name, Houphouët, means “filth.” In the Baoulé tribe, this type of name is given to the widower of a woman who has lost several children in the hope that death will not be interested in a piece of rubbish. Through his mother he was descended from a family of traditional chiefs. The name Boigny comes from his mother’s family and means “ram.” In December 1945, when he was going to Paris for the first time as a member of the French Parliament, he announced that he would be henceforth Houphouët-Boigny, which meant that he would be a fighting deputy.

Houphouët’s official date of birth is 18 October 1905 but it is a date that has been entirely constructed Soothsayers consulted before his birth predicted that ...

Article

Monique M. Chism

One such feat occurred on 12 September 1992, when she soared to new heights on the space shuttle Endeavor and became the first African American woman to venture into outer space.

The youngest of three children, Jemison was born in Decatur, Alabama, to Charlie and Dorothy Jemison, a maintenance supervisor at United Charities of Chicago and an elementary schoolteacher, respectively. From a young age Jemison dreamed of traveling into outer space, despite the fact that the astronaut corps did not accept American women until 1970 Determined to provide Jemison and her older sister and brother Ada and Charles with opportunities not afforded in the South her family moved to Chicago Illinois in search of a better quality of life At Morgan Park High School she was given the opportunity to explore a variety of areas that captivated her attention Jemison was academically intrigued and stimulated by ...

Article

Frances B. Henderson

political leader and former first lady of Mozambique and South Africa, was born Graça Simbine in Gaza Province in rural Mozambique, the youngest of six children. She was born two weeks after the death of her father, and she and her siblings were raised by her mother. Machel attended a Methodist mission school starting at the age of 6, and upon completion of primary and secondary school in the early 1970s, she received a mission scholarship to study romance languages at the University of Lisbon in Portugal. In Lisbon she met other African students from the Portuguese colonies and began to develop her liberation politics. In 1973, upon her return to Mozambique, she joined the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) in its struggle for independence from Portuguese rule. Later in 1973 Machel fled to Tanzania to join FRELIMO in exile where she met her future husband ...

Article

Luis Gonçalves

Angolan doctor, writer, and first president of independent Angola from 1975 to 1979, was born António Agostinho Neto in Kaxicane, in the county of Icolo e Bengo, near Luanda. His father was a pastor of an American mission, and his mother was a teacher. He went to school in Luanda, where he finished high school in 1944. He then went to Portugal, where he studied medicine at the prestigious University of Coimbra. It is there that he started his anticolonial activities. In 1947 he was a founding member of the movement of young Angolan intellectuals, “Let’s Discover Angola.” In the following year he received a study grant from the American Methodists, and he transferred to the University of Lisbon.

In 1950 Neto was arrested in Lisbon by the Portuguese political police PIDE Polícia de Intervenção e Defesa do Estado while he was collecting signatures for the World ...

Article

Leslie Hadfield

political activist, medical doctor, academic, and businesswoman, was born on 28 December 1947 the third child of two Sotho primary school teachers in the Bochum district of South Africa s Limpopo province then the Transvaal Her father Pitsi Eliphaz Ramphele was the son of a trained evangelist or priest of the Dutch Reformed Church He met his wife Rangoato Rahab Mahlaela at the Bethesda Normal College where they both trained as teachers The two teachers provided a relatively comfortable life for their family and urged their children to succeed academically Ramphele learned from her mother and grandmothers of the strength of women through their strong work ethics and challenges to patriarchal traditions Ramphele was given the name Mamphela Aletta after her maternal grandmother Ramphele was born one year before the white Afrikaner Nationalist Party gained political power in South Africa and began to implement apartheid a set of policies ...

Article

Dawne Y. Curry

Minnie Riperton still seduces music aficionados with songs such as “Perfect Angel,” “Loving You,” and “Memory Lane,” some of the treasures she bequeathed as part of her musical legacy. Riperton used her remarkable five-octave vocal range to paint a lyrical tapestry of love, beauty, and unity. This was not the only talent that Riperton possessed, nor the only indelible mark she left behind.

Minnie Riperton, the youngest of the eight children of Daniel and Thelma Riperton, was born in Chicago, Illinois where she underwent extensive preparatory training as a young child She took classes in modern dance and ballet before turning to opera As a teenager she had the opportunity to perform with the Gems an all female singing group that signed a major recording contract with Chess Records She performed as a backup singer on several hits produced by Chess Records including There Is by the Dells ...

Article

Susan M. Reverby

After a lifetime of labor militancy and commitment, Lillian Davis Roberts at seventy-two was not meant for retirement, volunteer work, and trips to Atlantic City with her friends. Roberts was called when her New York union, District Council (DC) 37 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), was coming out of receivership after corruption and vote fraud had rocked the union’s highest levels. In 2000, she became a consultant to the union. On 26 February 2002 she was elected the union’s executive director.

Such leadership was not new for Roberts. More than twenty years earlier, on 9 January 1981, New York governor Hugh Carey had proclaimed Lillian Roberts Day in tribute to the labor leader s importance to the political and economic struggles of working people Then DC 37 s associate director Roberts had been at the forefront of labor battles for decades ...

Article

Darlene Clark Hine

The history of black nursing is characterized by a relentless struggle for equality of opportunities and a quest for recognition and acceptance into the mainstream of American nursing. Although others also played major roles in the advance of black nursing, Mabel Keaton Staupers deserves special recognition. Staupers orchestrated the long struggle of black nurses to win full integration into the American nursing profession during the decades of the Great Depression and World War II. Staupers is perhaps best known for her role in implementing the desegregation of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps during World War II. She published an illuminating account of this and other battles of black nurses in No Time for Prejudice: A Story of the Integration of Negroes in Nursing in the United States (1961).

Born in Barbados, West Indies, to Thomas and Pauline Doyle, in April 1903 she and her parents ...

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Amy M. Hay

Building on her professional experiences in nursing and midwifery, Faye Wattleton became the first woman to lead Planned Parenthood Federation of America since the birth control pioneer Margaret Sanger started its earlier incarnation, the American Birth Control League, in 1923. Wattleton assumed the presidency of Planned Parenthood in 1978. She defended women’s reproductive rights throughout the 1980s, during a politically conservative period and what many observers considered a backlash on women’s issues. When she left her position in 1992, the organization stood as the seventh-largest charity in the United States. It provided medical and educational services to more than 4 million American women a year through a network of 170 affiliates in all fifty states.

Born in 1943 to Ozie and George Wattleton Alyce Faye Wattleton grew up for part of her childhood in St Louis Missouri An only child she spent the rest of her ...

Article

Amy M. Hay

Jane Cooke Wright demonstrates in her life the importance of family, institutions, and the professions to African American women. Wright continued a family tradition, following her paternal grandfather and father in attaining distinction in the medical profession.

Jane Cooke Wright was the first daughter of Louis Tompkins Wright and Corinne (Cooke) Wright. Her paternal grandfather graduated from the Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, a school renowned for educating black physicians. Her father went to Harvard Medical School and was one of that institution’s first black graduates. Wright attended private elementary schools in New York City and won a four-year scholarship to Smith College. She swam competitively in both high school and college, setting varsity records at Smith.

She obtained her medical degree, with honors, from New York Medical College in 1945 in an accelerated three year program She completed her internship and residency at Harlem Hospital In ...