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Jeffrey Green

Born in Trinidad, John Alcindor was among the first black West Indians to practise medicine in Britain. Winning an Island Scholarship enabled him to study medicine at Edinburgh University, from where he graduated in 1899 with first‐class honours in three subjects. He was among delegates from the Edinburgh‐based Afro‐West Indian Literary Society to the 1900 Pan‐African Conference, where he met and developed friendships with Samuel Coleridge‐Taylor and W. E. B. Du Bois. Moving to London, Alcindor practised his profession in the city's hospitals, and for several years played cricket for the Mill Hill Park club. His marriage to Minnie Alcindor (née Martin) in 1911 produced three sons. In 1917 Alcindor established his own medical practice, and also worked as a Poor Law medical officer. He published three scholarly studies on his research.

Alcindor was a founder member of the African Progress Union over which he was elected president in ...

Article

LaNesha NeGale DeBardelaben

physician and public health provider, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the fourth of five children of Hillard Boone Alexander, a horse trainer, and Virginia Pace Alexander. Born enslaved in 1856 to James and Ellen Alexander in Mecklenburg, Virginia, Alexander's father migrated to Philadelphia in 1880. Alexander's mother was born enslaved in 1854 to Thomas and Jenne Pace in Essex County, Virginia. She and her brother migrated to Philadelphia in 1880. In 1882 Hillard and Virginia were married. A working-class but respectable family, the Alexanders lived in the city's Seventh Ward with their three boys, Raymond Pace Alexander, Milliard, and Schollie, and two girls, Irene and Virginia. Strong family values were instilled in the Alexander children at an early age. Church, education, and a solid work ethic were emphasized in the home. Shortly after the birth of the youngest child in 1903 ...

Article

Geraldine Rhoades Beckford

physician, educator, and community worker, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was the eldest daughter of the abolitionist movement leaders William Still and Letitia George Still. In 1850William Still became the head of the Philadelphia Underground Railroad and Vigilance Committee. He would later chronicle his experiences in the best-selling 1872 account, The Underground Railroad.

After completing primary and secondary education at Mrs. Henry Gordon's Private School, the Friends Raspberry Alley School, and the Institute for Colored Youth, Anderson entered Oberlin College. Although she was the youngest member of the graduating class of 1868, Anderson presided over the annual Ladies' Literary Society, a singular honor that had never been awarded to a student of African ancestry.

After graduating from Oberlin, Anderson returned home to teach drawing and elocution, and on 28 December 1869 she married Edward A. Wiley a former slave and fellow ...

Article

David McBride

physician and public service and church activist, was born Leonidas Harris Berry on a tobacco farm in Woodsdale, North Carolina, the son of the Reverend Llewellyn Longfellow Berry, general secretary of the Department of Home and Foreign Missions of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, and Beulah Harris. Leonidas acquired the desire to become a doctor at the age of five, when a distinguished‐looking local doctor treated a small wound on his foot. The young boy was impressed by this “miraculous” event. His aspiration to go to medical school intensified while he was attending Booker T. Washington High School in Norfolk, Virginia. In 1924 Berry graduated from Wilberforce University and went on to obtain the SB in 1925 from the University of Chicago. In 1930 he also received his medical degree from the University of Chicago s Rush Medical College Berry continued his medical training earning an MS ...

Article

Robert Fikes

physician and organization president, was born in New York City, the son of Lonnie Harlis Bristow, a Baptist minister, and Vivian Wines, a nurse. At age ten Bristow was exposed to the medical profession by his mother, who was an emergency room nurse at Harlem's now defunct Sydenham Hospital. Bristow would observe the hospital staff from a distance while waiting to escort his mother to their apartment. She introduced him to the hospital's African American doctors, who became his role models as he came to believe that a career in medicine was something he could attain. Bristow graduated from the High School of Commerce in Manhattan and entered Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1947. There he became acquainted with fellow student Martin Luther King Jr.

Two years later Bristow signed up with the U.S. Navy and was on active duty until 1950 He enrolled at the ...

Article

Lisa E. Rivo

physician, organization founder, and social reformer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the second of five children all listed as “mulatto” in the 1880 U.S. census. Her parents' names are not known. In 1863 Rebecca completed a rigorous curriculum that included Latin, Greek, and mathematics at the Institute for Colored Youth, an all-black high school.

In 1867 Cole became the first black graduate of the Women's Medical College of Pennsylvania and the second formally trained African American woman physician in the United States. Dr. Ann Preston, the first woman dean of a medical school, served as Cole's preceptor, overseeing her thesis essay, “The Eye and Its Appendages.” The Women's Medical College, founded by Quaker abolitionists and temperance reformers in 1850 as the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, was the world's first medical school for women. By 1900 at least ten African American women had received their medical degrees from ...

Article

Elizabeth D. Schafer

physician, was born in Camden, South Carolina, the son of Eugene Heriot Dibble and Sally Lee. He graduated from Atlanta University in 1915 and earned his medical degree at Howard University Medical College four years later. After a one-year internship at the Freedmen's Hospital in Washington, D.C., Dibble accepted a surgical residency at the John A. Andrew Memorial Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama.

At that time, medical care for southern blacks was limited and often inferior. Dibble realized the urgent need for more black physicians to provide adequate health care. As assistant medical director of the John A. Andrew Memorial Hospital, he helped organize the first postgraduate course in surgery for southern black physicians.

By 1923 Dibble had become the chief of the surgical section of the newly established Veterans Administration hospital in Tuskegee The large number of black World War I veterans created an acute medical demand and ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Althea T. Davis

nursing leader, was born in New Milford, Connecticut, the daughter of Henry J. Franklin, a laborer and a private in the Twenty-ninth Connecticut Volunteer Division during the Civil War, and Mary E. Gauson. Reared in Meriden, Connecticut, during the post–Civil War period, Franklin lived in a town that had few African Americans. She graduated from Meriden Public High School in 1890. In 1895, having chosen nursing as a career, Franklin entered the Women's Hospital Training School for Nurses in Philadelphia. She graduated in December 1897, the only black graduate in the class, and went on to find work as a private-duty nurse in Meriden and thereafter in New Haven, to which she relocated.

Franklin s interest in organizing the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses NACGN was prompted by the difficulties black women often faced That black women were rarely accepted into schools of ...

Article

Althea T. Davis

Franklin, Martha Minerva (29 October 1870–26 September 1968), nursing leader, was born in New Milford, Connecticut, the daughter of Henry J. Franklin, a laborer and a private in the Twenty-ninth Connecticut Volunteer Division during the Civil War, and Mary E. Gauson. Reared in Meriden, Connecticut, during the post–Civil War period, Franklin lived in a town that had very few African Americans. She graduated from Meriden Public High School in 1890. In 1895, choosing nursing as a career, Franklin entered the Women’s Hospital Training School for Nurses in Philadelphia. She graduated in December 1897, the only black graduate in the class. After graduation, she worked as a private-duty nurse in Meriden and thereafter in New Haven, to which she relocated.

Franklin s interest in organizing the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses NACGN was prompted by the difficult challenges black women encountered During the Reconstruction era rigid practices ...

Article

Darlene Clark Hine

Born in New Milford, Connecticut, to Henry J. Franklin and Mary E. Gauson Franklin, Martha graduated from Meriden Public High School in 1890. Five years later, she entered the Woman’s Hospital Training School for Nurses in Philadelphia, one of the few black women to have access to such a nursing program. The vast majority of nursing schools either severely restricted or prohibited the admission of black women. This widespread system of racial discrimination and exclusion propelled many African Americans to found a separate network of health care institutions and nurse training schools.

The sole black student in her class, Franklin received her diploma in December 1897. She found employment as a private-duty nurse, because hospital staff or public health nursing were seldom available to black nurses. Franklin worked for a while in Meriden and then in New Haven.

As a graduate nurse Franklin was confronted with ...

Article

Omar H. Ali

developmental psychologist, educator, and national independent political leader, was born Lenora Branch in Chester, Pennsylvania. A youth leader in the black Baptist Church, Fulani grew up in a working-class black community; her mother, Pearl, was a nurse, and her father, Charles Lee, was a baggage carrier on the Pennsylvania Railroad. As a child, Fulani briefly participated in the public school desegregation process following Brown v. Board of Education (1954). While still in her early teens she decided to become a psychologist to help her immediate community; during the 1970s, reflecting her pride in being of African descent, she changed her surname to Fulani, the name of various West African nomadic groupings of people.

Fulani won a scholarship to Hofstra University on Long Island, New York, where she majored in psychology. Divorced when her two children, Ainka and Amani were still very young she ...

Article

Gerard Fergerson

physician, was born near Eatontown, New Jersey, the son of Joseph Johnson and Martha A. Frazier. Before moving to New York, where he would spend his entire professional career, Peter attended Roger Smith High School in Newport, Rhode Island. After completing additional studies at Clark's Collegiate Institute in New York, Johnson enrolled at the Long Island College Hospital (a precursor to the College of Medicine of the State University of New York Health Science Center of Brooklyn), a reputable private institution. On his graduation from the Brooklyn medical school in 1882, Johnson became the fifth black graduate of the institution, forty-five years after the first African American to earn a professional degree in medicine, James McCune Smith, had earned his degree in Scotland. Johnson initially practiced medicine in New York under the guidance of David K. McDonough a physician who had been born a slave ...

Article

Mary Krane Derr

physician and community leader, was born Edith Mae Irby in Conway, Arkansas, to Mattie Irby, a domestic worker, and her husband Robert, a sharecropper. Several childhood experiences—some traumatic—shaped Edith's early choice of medicine as her profession and the relief of racial health disparities as her special focus. When she was only five, an illness rendered her unable to walk for eighteen months. At six she lost her thirteen-year-old sister and almost lost an older brother in a typhoid fever epidemic. She noticed that people who could afford more medical care fared better with the disease. When she was eight a horse-riding accident fatally injured her father.

The year of her father s death a white doctor and his family hired Edith to help care for their eighteen month old child They told Edith that she was highly intelligent and encouraged her to consider a medical career Members ...

Article

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

Eugene H. Conner

physician and civil rights activist, was born near Shelby, Cleveland County, North Carolina, the son of John Carpenter Lattimore and Marcella Hambrick, former slaves and farmers. Lattimore graduated from Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, with an AB in 1897. He then attended Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, receiving his MD in 1901. With a fellow classmate, H. B. Beck, as a partner, he began the general practice of medicine in Louisville, Kentucky. After considerable effort, his practice grew. In 1928 he married Naomi Anthony of Louisville; they had no children.

To provide better care for his patients Lattimore established the Lattimore Clinic in Louisville This effort marked the beginning of a professional lifetime devoted to improving medical care for the black community and presaged similar efforts for improving public health measures hospital care and educational opportunities for blacks Lattimore served in the Louisville ...

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 ...

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Nazneen Ahmed

Alias of Azaj Warqnah Ishete (1865–1952), Ethiopia's first modern‐trained physician and Ethiopian Minister to London at the time of the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in 1935. Born in Gondar, at the age of 3 Ishete was abandoned by his family during the capture of the fortress of Magada in 1868. Two British officers took him to India, assumed responsibility for his education, and christened him Charles Martin. Martin graduated from Lahore Medical College in 1882, becoming a medical officer in Burma in 1891. He was reunited with his family and his Ethiopian name on his visit to Addis Ababa in 1899. On another trip in 1908 as temporary medical officer in the British legation he treated the ailing Emperor Menilek. In 1919 he returned to Ethiopia to settle practising medicine and undertaking various forms of development work including the founding ...

Article

David Killingray

Pan‐Africanistcampaigner born in the colony of British Guiana and educated at Queen's College, Georgetown. He graduated from the medical school of Howard University, Washington DC, in 1910, and then went to work in the Panama Canal Zone. Shortly after the First World War, he came to Britain and secured a medical qualification from the University of Edinburgh in 1923. Milliard settled in Manchester in the early 1930s, practised as a doctor, and also began to promote the interests and welfare of the small black population of the city. In 1935 he helped to found the International African Friends of Abyssinia and spoke at open‐air meetings, where he denounced the Italian invasion of Ethiopia and colonial policies. In 1943Milliard founded the Negro Association which held monthly meetings Its membership which rarely exceeded 80 people during the next ten years was composed of students black service personnel ...

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Amon Saba Sakaana

Black doctor and activist. Harold Moody was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1882 and arrived in London in 1904 to study medicine. His mother, a dark woman, was aware of the liability of black skin in colonial Jamaica for she advised her son to make friends with those fairer than himself. Moody's father worked on the Panama Canal and returned with enough money to open a pharmacy. Moody was sent to a prestigious school in Kingston run by Sir William Morrison, and was then transferred to Woolmer's Free School until 1899. His scholarship was sound, and upon graduation he opened his own school, where he taught for some time. From his very early beginnings Moody was a devout Christian, becoming secretary of the Christian Endeavour Society at the age of 19. He also was a preacher at two churches in Kingston.

As early as 1912 Moody was ...