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Modupe Labode

physician, was born Justina Laurena Warren in Knoxville, Illinois. Her parents were Melissa Brisco Warren and Pryor Warren; Melissa Warren's first marriage ended with the death of her husband, Ralph Alexander. When Justina was very young, the family moved to nearby Galesburg, Illinois. She was the seventh child in her family. Her mother was a nurse, which may have influenced Justina's early interest in medicine. Ford recalled that as a young girl she was so focused on becoming a doctor that she wove her passion for medicine into all of her activities. She played hospital, tended the ill, and even used her chores, such as dressing chickens, to study anatomy.

In December 1892 Justina Warren married the Fisk-educated Reverend John E. Ford. After her marriage, Justina Ford enrolled in Chicago's Hering Medical College, and graduated in 1899 She and her husband moved to Normal Alabama ...


Morgan Taggart-Hampton and Susan Bell

physician, surgeon, and medical researcher, was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, the youngest daughter of Adella Hunt Logan and Warren Logan, well-respected members of black Alabama society and teachers at the Tuskegee Institute. Her father was one of the first people appointed to the Tuskegee Institute by Booker T. Washington in 1882; Warren Logan was also its treasurer and member of the Board of Trustees. After her retirement from Tuskegee in 1888, her mother, Adella Logan, became an avid suffragist and women's rights activist.

Myra Logan grew up on the Tuskegee campus, attended Tuskegee High School, and graduated with honors in 1923. She was the valedictorian of her class at Atlanta University, where she graduated in 1927. She earned a Master's in Psychology from Columbia University before attending New York Medical College. Encouraged by her brother-in-law, Dr. Eugene Percy Roberts a well ...


Karen Jean Hunt

physician and educator, was born Alice Woodby in Bridgewater, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Charles Woodby and Elizabeth B. Frazier. As a child Alice suffered from the loss of her sight and remained blind for three years. After recovering she attended public schools in Bridgewater, less than thirty miles from Pittsburgh.

From 1884 to 1886 Woodby attended Hampton Institute in Virginia. Although she never graduated, Woodby fully embraced the Hampton principles of “education for life” and “learning by doing.” In an 1897 letter to the Southern Workman she explained her decision to leave Hampton: “Students were sent out to teach one year before graduating. Not wishing to become a teacher, I thought it best not to begin, for fear the temptation to continue might thwart my plans for obtaining my profession.”

Woodby entered the Institute for Colored Youth (ICY) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1886 The ICY was one ...


As a child, Susan Maria Smith McKinney-Steward trained and performed as an organist. Her early training qualified her for teaching positions, and she taught school in Washington, D.C., and New York City, using the proceeds of her New York teaching to pay tuition for medical school.

McKinney-Steward began medical study at the New York Medical College for Women in 1867. She specialized in homeopathic medicine and graduated as class valedictorian after three years. After receiving her degree she achieved wealth and a local reputation as a successful Brooklyn physician with an interracial clientele. McKinney-Steward excelled especially in pediatric care and the treatment of childhood diseases. Outside her medical practice she agitated for social reform, advocating female suffrage and temperance. Until the early 1890s she remained the organist for the African Methodist Episcopal church where she regularly worshiped.

Both of McKinney Steward s husbands were ministers She was ...


Cecily Jones

African‐Americanabolitionist and women's rights campaigner born in Salem, Massachusetts, to John and Nancy Lenox Remond, free middle‐class Blacks. Despite her family's wealth, racial discrimination within the northern segregated school system meant that she received a limited education and she was primarily self‐educated. Raised in a family that included many abolitionists, Remond learned from childhood of the horrors of slavery and witnessed many incidents involving the Underground Railroad. Her parents played host to many of the movement's leaders, including William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips, and to more than one fugitive slave.

At the age of 16 Remond began to join her brother Charles Lenox Remond, the leading abolitionist of his day, on anti‐slavery lecture circuits across northern states. A vociferous opponent of both slavery and of the racial segregation that existed in the ‘free’ North, in 1853 she successfully won a case for damages for ...


Gerald S. Henig

nurse, physician, and educational activist, was born in Mount Vernon, Ohio, the youngest of four children of Augustus “Gus” Simmons, a farmer, and Ella Sophia Cooper Simmons, a practical nurse. As part of the fledgling black middle class of early twentieth century America, Gus and Ella Simmons provided a financially secure and happy environment for their children. Looking back, Dr. Simmons had only pleasant memories of her early years, memories of extended family gatherings, learning to play the piano, friendships, hay rides, and dating one of the few black students at the high school (African Americans made up only 2 percent of Mount Vernon's population and 3 percent statewide).

An outstanding student with a special talent for the sciences, Simmons decided to follow in her mother's footsteps and pursue a career in nursing. In 1936 after graduating in the top 3 percent of her ...


Steven J. Niven

physician and public health reformer, was born in Beaufort, South Carolina, the third of five children of William J. Whipper, a judge and politician, and Frances A. Rollin, a writer born into Charleston’s free black elite. The stage actor Leigh Whipper was her brother. In her very early childhood Ionia grew up in one of the most prominent African American families in South Carolina. But the family suffered in the late 1870s after the end of Reconstruction finished William’s political career, and the judge’s gambling debts and drinking problem placed a significant financial burden on the family.

After her parents separated in 1880, Ionia, her brother Leigh, her sister Winifred, and her adopted brother Demps moved with their mother to Washington, D.C. Frances Rollin prominent in Washington s black literary and political circles found work in the office of her friend Washington s Recorder ...