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Geraldine Rhoades Beckford

physician and educator, was born in Mebanesville, North Carolina, one of eight children. Her parents' names are not known. There are no records of Brown's earlier education, but in 1881 she enrolled at Scotia Seminary in Concord, North Carolina, and graduated in 1885. Four years later she married David Brown, a minister, and the following year entered Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, founded in 1850 and the first medical school for women in America. When Brown matriculated at the school in 1891, it was one of the best medical colleges in the country.

After graduating from Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1894 Brown returned to North Carolina and practiced medicine in her home state for two years before going to Charleston South Carolina where she became the first female physician of African ancestry in South Carolina A year later a fellow alumna from Woman s ...

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Brandi Hughes

nurse, foreign missionary, and school founder, was born to Anna L. Delaney and Daniel Sharpe Delaney in Fernandina Beach, Florida. Emma Beard Delaney came of age in the postbellum generation that witnessed the collapse of Reconstruction and the fading of the early promise of African American emancipation. Against the rising tide of segregation and racial violence, however, Delaney's family managed to sustain a measure of economic security and educational advancement. Her father, Daniel, held the distinction of being the only African American helmsman commissioned for service on the Revenue Cutter Boutwell, a federal ship that patrolled the ports of Savannah, Georgia; Jacksonville, Florida; and Charleston, South Carolina, as a forerunner of the U.S. Coast Guard. The unique benefits of her father's government employment enabled the Delaney family to support an expansive education for Emma and her sister, Annie. In 1889 shortly after completing secondary classes ...

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Elvatrice Parker Belsches

dentist, dental and medical organizational leader, hospital founder, and author, was born in Portsmouth, Ohio, the oldest of the six children of William B. Ferguson and Cornelia Taylor Ferguson. William Ferguson was a noted educator in Portsmouth, Ohio, in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and at the Christiansburg Industrial Institute in Virginia. David's brother George R. Ferguson, MD, served as assistant secretary for the National Medical Association (NMA), and his nephew William Ferguson Reid, MD, was the first African American elected to the Virginia legislature in the twentieth century.

In 1885 William Ferguson moved his family to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where David Ferguson completed grammar school and embarked upon the first of two invaluable dentistry apprenticeships. In 1889 Ferguson began apprenticing for the white dentist Dr. E. T. Barr for whom he worked until shortly before returning to Portsmouth Ohio to enter high school ...

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Laura M. Calkins

surgeon and civic leader, was born in Washington, D.C. As a youth he attended the segregated black schools in the District of Columbia, and in 1868–1872 he attended Howard University's Normal Preparatory and Commercial Departments, whose curricula emphasized vocational training. At age sixteen Francis was sent to the elite Wesleyan Academy in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, where his studies included mathematics, philosophy, and the natural sciences. Returning to Washington, D.C., in 1875, he became an apprentice to Dr. C. C. Cox, a white physician who was head of the District of Columbia's board of health. Under Cox's supervision Francis enrolled in Howard University's medical college, studying there between 1875 and 1877. Francis left in the autumn of 1877 and enrolled at the University of Michigan as an advanced student, and in the spring of 1878 he received a degree in medicine.

Francis returned to Washington D C where ...

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Laticia Ann Marie Willis

nurse, social activist, and hospital founder, was born Millie Essie Gibson in Nashville, Tennessee, one of five children of Henry Gibson, a blacksmith, and Nannie Gibson. Millie spent her childhood in Nashville, having attended Pearl Elementary School from 1888 to 1892 and graduating from Fisk University's Normal School in 1901. She moved to New York City in order to study nursing at the Graduate School of Nurses there. Later, in 1927, she received her BA degree from Fisk. On 20 December 1905 she married John Henry Hale, who taught at Nashville's Meharry Medical College. They had two daughters, Mildred and Essie.

Hale returned from New York committed to improving health care for Nashville's African American community. On 1 July 1916 she founded the Millie E Hale Hospital which became the first year round hospital in the city to provide health care ...

Article

David T. Beito

physician, civil rights leader, and entrepreneur, was born Theodore Roosevelt Howard in the town of Murray, Calloway County, Kentucky, to Arthur Howard, a tobacco twister, and Mary Chandler, a cook for Will Mason, a prominent local white doctor and member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA). Mason took note of the boy's work habits, talent, ambition, and charm. He put him to work in his hospital and eventually paid for much of his medical education. Howard later showed his gratitude by adding “Mason” as a second middle name.

Theodore Howard attended three SDA colleges: the all-black Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama; the predominantly white Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska; and the College of Medical Evangelists in Loma Linda, California. While at Union College he won the American Anti-Saloon League's national contest for best orator in 1930.

During his years in medical school in ...

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Diana Kristine Durham

physician, hospital founder, and entrepreneur, was born in Anderson, South Carolina, to Green and Clara (Riley) Jenkins, the fourth child in a family of nine children. His father was a successful farmer who owned 319 acres of land and also owned and operated several businesses simultaneously, including a grocery store, a fish market, a theater, a dairy farm, and a wood farm. Green Jenkins had never attended school, but he was an articulate man who read exceptionally well and was also skilled in math. His wife Clara died a few months after the birth of her youngest child.

All the Jenkins children received their early education at the Taylor School in Anderson, South Carolina, and all pursued a college education. Whitner the sixth child died while attending the historically black Claflin College in Orangeburg but Joseph Newton became a Baptist minister and lecturer at Baylor ...

Article

Elvatrice Parker Belsches

physician, surgeon, and hospital founder, was born Sallie Garland Boyd in Albemarle County, Virginia, the oldest of nine children born to George W. Boyd, a carpenter and general contractor, and Ellen D. Garland, a nurse. By 1868 the family had moved from Albemarle County to the Richmond area, where her father became the city's leading black contractor. He oversaw construction of such notable buildings as the Baker School, the Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church—pastored by the nationally known John Jasper—and other black-owned buildings. Sallie attended Richmond public schools and in 1883 graduated from Richmond Colored Normal and High School, an institution organized in October 1867 by the Freedmen s Bureau to prepare students to become educators Courses in rhetoric philosophy geography English classics and the natural sciences provided a solid foundation that earned the school a reputation as one of the state s ...

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Glen Pierce Jenkins

obstetrician and community leader, was born near Moncks Corner, South Carolina, the son of the former slaves John Lambright and Mary Gelzer, farmers. Middleton was one of thirteen children, and although he was born free, more than half his siblings were born into slavery. As a young man he often accompanied his father to Charleston for supplies. Their route took them by the Medical College of South Carolina, and Lambright questioned his father about the young men in white coats walking on the campus. This experience established in him the notion of studying medicine. When a life-threatening accident brought him into personal contact with a physician for a period of several months, he became convinced of his life's ambition. With the support of his family, Lambright eventually graduated from Claflin College in Orangeburg, South Carolina, with an AB degree. In 1898 he received his MD from the ...

Article

Sharon Leslie Morgan

medical pioneer and philanthropist who developed groundbreaking treatments for leprosy, syphilis, and cancer, was the eldest son of Dr. Alfred Lawless Jr. and Harriet Dunn. He was born on a farm in Thibodeaux, Louisiana, and with his siblings, Oscar and Helen, grew up in New Orleans.

His interest in medicine began when he was young, working as an assistant to a veterinarian. Lawless's father was a minister and a tireless advocate of civil rights and educational opportunity for African Americans. The Memorial Chapel at Dillard University and Lawless High School in New Orleans were both named in his honor. With such strong influence, it is little wonder that his eldest son, Theodore (known to friends and family as “T.K.”), would excel beyond all expectations. He earned a BA from Talladega College in 1914 and an MD (1919) and MA (1920 from Northwestern University after studying ...

Article

Robert C. Hayden

Nathan Francis Mossell was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, the son of Aaron Mossell, a brick manufacturer, and Eliza Bowers; both parents were freeborn African Americans from Baltimore, Maryland, who had moved to Canada to escape racial discrimination. When the Civil War ended and slavery was abolished, Aaron Mossell moved his family back to the United States. In 1865 they settled in Lockport, New York, a small town near Rochester.

In Lockport the Mossell children were assigned to a separate all-black school. Mossell's father successfully petitioned the Lockport Board of Education to close the all-black school, and Nathan and the other black children were allowed to attend integrated schools. The Mossell family's home life was highly religious: his father donated the bricks for the first African Methodist Episcopal Zion church in Lockport.

After graduation from high school in Lockport in 1873 Nathan Mossell moved ...

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Robert C. Hayden

physician and hospital founder and administrator, was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, the son of Aaron Mossell, a brick manufacturer, and Eliza Bowers; both parents were free blacks from Baltimore, Maryland, who had moved to Canada to escape racial discrimination. When the Civil War ended and slavery was abolished, Aaron Mossell moved his family back to the United States. In 1865 they settled in Lockport, New York, a small town near Rochester.

In Lockport the Mossell children were assigned to a separate all-black school. Mossell's father successfully petitioned the Lockport Board of Education to close the all-black school, and Nathan and the other black children were allowed to attend integrated schools. The Mossell family's home life was highly religious: Aaron Mossell donated the bricks for the first African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion Church in Lockport.

After graduation from high school in Lockport in 1873 Nathan Mossell ...

Article

Diana Kristine Durham

organist, stenographer, college professor, physician, and hospital founder, was born in St. John, Antigua, British West Indies, the son of John Sebastian and Sara Elizabeth Roberts. He studied at Antigua's Mico College, a normal school established for blacks by Lady Mico Trust, where he studied a rigorous curriculum that included English, Latin, Greek, mathematics, science, astronomy, history, and geography. Sebastian, like many of the students at Mico College, viewed his normal training as preparation for a career other than teaching.

In 1901 Sebastian immigrated to the United States After arriving in Philadelphia he obtained employment as a stenographer and an organist A year later he moved to Greensboro North Carolina to work at the Agricultural and Mechanical College later North Carolina A T State University Sebastian who was broadly educated in the Caribbean taught English geography foreign languages and mathematics and was also ...

Article

Mary Krane Derr

physician, health-care institution founder, and community activist, was born Emma Rochelle near Gainesville, Florida. Little is known about her parents except that her father was a farmer and a veterinarian. Her two siblings were William Rochelle and Ella Rochelle (later Stamps). Emma became entranced with medicine at age six when her father brought her to a white female doctor for eye disease treatment. After her schooling in Gainesville, Emma moved to Jacksonville to attend Mary McLeod Bethune's Cookman Institute. She graduated in 1899 and married Joseph R. Howard, a teacher, a year later. In 1901 her husband died from typhoid fever while she was pregnant with their son Joseph Howard Jr. The young widow moved to Nashville, Tennessee, with her son and enrolled in Walden University.

In 1905 as one of three women in a class of sixty eight Rochelle earned her MD from Meharry Medical ...