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Article

Marleny Guzman

psychology professor and journalist, was born in Columbia, South Carolina, to Frances G. Green Baumgardner and her husband James L. Baumgardner (sometimes spelled Bumgardner). Both his parents were teachers at Allen University in Columbia; James taught math and theology. In one source Frances Baumgardner's maiden name is listed as Ramsay. Little is known about Herbert's childhood, but he was the second child, with an older brother, Luther Ovid, and two younger sisters, Thelma and Victoria. The 1910 census suggests that all four children were living with their parents at 2330 Plain Street (later Hampton Street) in Columbia. The home, which the Baumgardners owned outright without a mortgage appears to have been in a “neighborhood of predominately middle and upper income residences” (Trinkley and Hacker, pp. 45–46). As of 1910 two lodgers were also living in the home which would have provided additional income for the family Luther O ...

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Donna A. Patterson

Senegalese politician, pharmacist, and author, was born in Saint-Louis, Senegal, on 30 September 1922. His father worked as a colonial official, and his mother was a homemaker. In 1935, Diop’s father died; his mother followed two years later, leaving Diop, aged fifteen, and his four siblings orphaned. The death of his parents kindled a desire to excel in his studies, and after completing his secondary education in Saint-Louis and Dakar, Diop was admitted to French West Africa’s School of Medicine and Pharmacy.

The curriculum at the School of Medicine and Pharmacy was abbreviated during the early years, with initial terms of three and fours years of study. Despite the initial brevity, graduates from these programs were extensively trained in local hospitals and clinics. Likewise, in his memoirs (Mémoires de luttes: Textes pour servir à l’histoire du Parti Africain de l’Indépendance, 2007 Diop describes his training ...

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Jeremy Rich

medical doctor and playwright in Sierra Leone, was born on 15 January 1913 in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. The Easmon family was prominent among the Freetown elite and was descended from the black American and Canadian settlers who moved from Nova Scotia to Freetown in 1792, only five years after the foundation of this small British colony. His father, H. C. F. Easmon, was one of the most highly regarded African doctors in Sierra Leone, and his paternal grandfather, James Farrell Easmon, was one of the first Africans to work as a Western-trained doctor in Sierra Leone and Ghana. Easmon recalled how hard his father struggled to battle the influenza epidemic that ravaged Freetown in 1918 and 1919 He recalled in the 1980s Father had literally to doctor the whole city Easmon was educated at the Prince of Wales secondary school in Freetown before he moved ...

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Françoise Vergès

writer, psychiatrist, and activist, was born on 20 July 1925 at Fort de France Martinique at the time a French colony The descendant of a slave of African origins Fanon was the fifth of eight children His parents who were of mixed heritage belonged to the urban middle class His father Félix Casimir Fanon worked in the French customs Eléanore Médélice his mother was a shopkeeper She was very proud of her Alsatian roots on an island where the hierarchy of color was very strong Both parents discouraged their children from speaking Creole and encouraged them to integrate into French culture Fanon studied at the elitist Lycée Schoelcher where he had Aimé Césaire as one of his teachers At eighteen Fanon joined the Free French army and was sent for army training to Algeria Fanon became disillusioned with the cause of freeing Europe from Nazism and wrote to his ...

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Michael Maiwald

Rudolph Fisher was born in Washington, D.C., the son of John Wesley Fisher, a clergyman, and Glendora Williamson. Fisher was raised in Providence, Rhode Island, and in 1919 received his B.A. from Brown University, where he studied both English and biology. Fisher's dual interests, literature and science, were reflected in his achievements at Brown, where he won numerous oratorical contests and was granted departmental honors in biology; the following year he received an M.A. in biology. In 1920 Fisher returned to Washington to attend Howard University Medical School. He graduated with highest honors in June 1924 and interned at Washington's Freedmen's Hospital. Later that year Fisher married Jane Ryder, a local teacher, with whom he had one son.

When Fisher moved to New York in 1925 he made rapid advances in both of his careers as a doctor and a writer As a bright ...

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John McCluskey

In his short stories and two published novels Rudolph Fisher was concerned with the development of an urban community with few models to guide it. This was a community that, jazzlike, had to improvise against the history of the rural South and creeping disillusionment with the urban North.

Rudolph John Chauncey Fisher was born 9 May 1897 in Washington, D.C., to the Reverend John W. and Glendora Williamson Fisher. Fisher was the youngest of three children, with an older brother, Joseph, and an older sister, Pearl. In 1903 the family moved to New York, but by 1905 they had resettled in Providence, Rhode Island. Rudolph Fisher attended public schools in Providence and graduated from Classical High School with high honors. By the end of senior year, his interest in both literature and science was established. This was evident throughout his undergraduate career at Brown University (1915 ...

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A. B. Christa Schwarz

writer and doctor. Moving to Harlem in the mid-1920s, Rudolph John Chauncey Fisher arrived exactly when the Harlem Renaissance, the first African American cultural movement, began to flourish. Born in Washington, D.C., the son of Glendora Williamson Fisher and John W. Fisher, a Baptist minister, he succeeded in combining a medical with a literary career. Fisher's best-known short story, “The City of Refuge,” which he created while studying at Howard University Medical School (1920–1924), was published in the prestigious white journal the Atlantic Monthly in 1925. The same year Fisher followed the call of leading Harlem Renaissance figures to come to Harlem, where he began to work as an X-ray specialist and ventured on a short-lived but prolific writing career, which saw him turn into one of the most popular writers of the Harlem Renaissance.

Desiring to act as a literary interpreter of Harlem Fisher ...

Article

Candace M. Keller

Malian government minister, physician, novelist, poet, and political activist, was born in Koulikoro, Mali. By 1936 Gologo had entered the École Régionale de Bamako in the capital city and, at the age of fourteen, had enrolled at the famous high school École Terrasson de Fougères. In 1941 he moved to Senegal to continue his education at the École Normale William Ponty. Seven years later he was conscripted into the Tirailleurs Sénégalais and received his doctoral degree in medicine from the École de Médecine de Dakar. The following year he was released from military service to practice medicine for the administration in Mali—first in Bamako and later in Kati, Sikasso, Douentza, and Gourma-Rharous.

In 1953 Gologo was employed as a physician for the Office du Niger While there he organized workers to join labor unions under the Union Soudanais US a branch of the pan French West African political organ ...

Article

Shelia Patrice Moses

comedian, civil right activist, nutritionist, and actor, was born Richard Claxton Gregory in St. Louis, Missouri. He grew up on North Taylor Street with his mother, Lucille, and his five siblings. His father, Presley Sr., abandoned the family when Gregory was very young. On North Taylor Street, Gregory told jokes to the neighborhood children, jokes that would later lead to his fame as a comedian. For most of his childhood, however, he faced poverty and racism. His first brush with segregation came at an early age when he raised his hand and volunteered to give five dollars to needy children after the teacher asked his class if their parents would be able to make donations for Christmas. His teacher told him to “put your hand down, Richard this money is for your kind The entire class laughed at him as he ran out ...

Article

Christopher J. Neumann

autobiographer and black women's rights activist, was born Jane Edna Harris in Pendleton, South Carolina, the daughter of Edward Harris and Harriet Millner, sharecroppers. Following her father's death due to jaundice when she was ten years old, Jane and her three siblings were distributed briefly among the homes of various relatives. His death and the ensuing dispersal of her nuclear family were especially difficult for Jane, in part because she had customarily been “father's ally in his differences with mother” (A Nickel, 12) but also because she now had to forgo formal schooling to earn her keep in Anderson, South Carolina, as a live-in nursemaid and cook. Although treated so poorly by her mistress that white and black neighbors alike protested, she was taught to read and write by the eldest daughter.

Harris entered Ferguson Academy (later Ferguson-Williams College) in 1896 graduating four years later ...

Article

Hassoum Ceesay

Gambian politician, women's rights activist, playwright, and nurse, was born in May 1924 in Banjul, Gambia, to Sir John Mahoney, the first Speaker of the Gambian Legislature, and Lady Hannah Mahoney, a typist. She attended St Joseph's Convent and the Methodist Girls’ High School in Banjul, where she sat her Cambridge School Leaving Certificate Examination in 1942.

From 1942 to 1946 she worked as a nurse assistant at the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) in Banjul, before traveling to England in 1946 to study medicine at the Royal Infirmary, Bristol, where she obtained her State Registered Nurse (SRN) certificate in 1953. On returning to Gambia, she was posted as a nursing sister to Basse, 400 kilometers from Bathurst, where she met and married Dawda Kairaba Jawara. Their marriage at Basse in February 1955 was described in the Bathurst press as a unique occasion which ...

Article

Justin David Gifford

forensic psychiatrist, novelist, and filmmaker, was born in Washington, D.C., to Devonia Jefferson, a teacher and playwright, and Bernard Jefferson, a judge. At an early age, Jefferson moved with his family to Los Angeles where he attended integrated public schools. Raised in a family that discouraged him from pursing a career as a writer, Jefferson studied anthropology in college, earning his BA from the University of Southern California in 1961. In 1965 Jefferson earned his MD from Howard University and became a practicing physician in Los Angeles. In 1966, he married a teacher named Melanie L. Moore, with whom he would eventually have four children, Roland Jr., Rodney, Shannon, and Royce. Between 1969 and 1971 he served as a captain and psychiatrist at Lockborne Air Force Base in Columbus Ohio It was during this time that he ...

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Emily A. Teitsworth

social psychologist, writer, and administrator, was born Florence Cawthorne in Washington, D.C. to William Cawthorne Jr., a clerk for the board of education, and Eleanor Willis Cawthorne a special education teacher Ladd attended the prestigious Dunbar High School in Washington D C While she was a student there her mother took a course in abnormal psychology Helping her mother type papers for the class was Ladd s first exposure to the study of psychology and influenced the direction of her later academic work Ladd went on to study at Howard University a place well known for its superior psychology program She spent her junior year abroad in France and Switzerland studying psychological testing and sharing the classroom with white students for the first time Her experiences abroad began a lifelong fascination with travel and the American expatriate experience Ladd received a BS in Psychology from ...

Article

Steven J. Niven

midwife and author, was born Onnie Lee Rodgers near Sweet Water in southwest Alabama to Len Rodgers, a farmer and carpenter, and his wife, Martha (maiden name unknown), a midwife and farmer. Like her fifteen siblings and most rural southerners at the time, Onnie Lee was delivered by an African American midwife, in part because of a lack of practicing physicians outside of the South's major urban centers, and also because black granny midwives had traditionally performed this task since slavery times. In addition to her mother, Logan's maternal and paternal grandmothers, as well as one of her brothers-in-law, were also midwives.

At a time when most of her black neighbors struggled to get by as sharecroppers, Onnie Lee Logan recalled that her parents owned their own land a huge plantation on which they raised several types of livestock and grew a wide variety of vegetables as ...

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

Eric Young

The son of a Methodist minister, António Agostinho Neto received his high school education in Luanda. In 1947, after spending three years in the government health service, Neto traveled to Portugal to attend medical school on a Methodist church scholarship. While there he met his Portuguese wife, Maria Eugénia da Silva, and other students from Portuguese Africa, including future nationalist leaders Amílcar Cabral of Guinea-Bissau and Eduardo Mondlane of Mozambique. He also became involved in the youth organization of the Portuguese opposition movement. Between 1952 and 1962, during various stays in prison for his political activity, Neto began writing poetry. The publication of his nationalist poetry and his subsequent detention delayed his graduation from medical school until 1958.

By mid 1957 he had joined the recently formed opposition group the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola MPLA He fit in well with the MPLA s educated ...

Article

Jennifer Jensen Wallach

novelist, short-story writer, and children's book author. Ann Lane grew up in the white, middle-class town of Old Saybrook, Connecticut. The daughter of a pharmacist, she initially followed in her father's footsteps, earning a degree in pharmacy from the Connecticut College of Pharmacy in 1931 and then working in the family drugstore for seven years. In 1938 she married the writer George Petry and moved to Harlem to pursue a writing career.

In Harlem she worked as a reporter for the Amsterdam News and the People's Voice. She also began volunteering at an after-school program for latchkey children. This exposure to poverty and the difficulties faced by urban black women had a profound influence on her writing.

In the 1940s Petry published several short stories in periodicals including Phylon and The Crisis. A grant from Houghton Mifflin allowed her to write her first novel, The Street ...

Article

Cynthia A. Callahan

author and pharmacist, was born Ann Lane in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. The youngest daughter of Peter C. Lane, a pharmacist and proprietor of two drugstores, and Bertha James, a licensed podiatrist, Ann Lane grew up in a financially secure and intellectually stimulating family environment. After graduating from Old Saybrook High School, she studied at the Connecticut College of Pharmacy (now the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy) and earned her graduate in pharmacy degree in 1931 For the next seven years Lane worked as a pharmacist in the family business Her family s long history of personal and professional success served as the foundation for her own professional accomplishments She cherished the family s stories of triumph over racism and credited them with having a message that would help a young black child survive help convince a young black child that black is truly beautiful Petry ...

Article

Hazel Arnett Ervin

Ann Petry was born above her father's drugstore on 12 October 1908 in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. She attended Old Saybrook's public schools, starting at the age of four. In 1931, she earned the PhG degree at the University of Connecticut, and, for more than nine years, worked as a pharmacist in the family-owned drugstores in Old Saybrook and Old Lyme. During these years, she also wrote short stories. These stories remain unpublished.

Following her marriage to George D. Petry in 1938, Ann Petry moved to Harlem, abandoned the family profession, and, for the next eight years, actively pursued a career as a writer. From 1938 to 1941, she worked as a reporter for New York's Amsterdam News. From 1941 to 1944, she was a reporter and also the editor of the woman's page for The People's Voice, where from 1942 to 1943 she ...

Article

James Smethurst

Ann Lane Petry was born and raised in the predominantly white, middle-class community of Saybrook, Connecticut. The daughter of a pharmacist, she worked in her father's drugstore as a teenager and went on to major in pharmacology at the University of Connecticut. After graduating, she worked at and managed the family drugstore in Old Saybrook. Her pharmacological endeavors notwithstanding, Petry wrote short stories while working, none of which have been published. After marrying George Petry, a mystery writer, in 1939, she moved to New York City and dropped pharmacy altogether, choosing instead to develop her career as a writer.

Her first job in New York was at a Harlem newspaper, the Amsterdam News, where she worked for four years. Petry moved on to The Peoples Voice where she wrote a column on Harlem society in the women s section of the paper Her first published work ...