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Teri B. Weil

military leader, nurse, educator, and entrepreneur, was born Clara Mae Leach Adams in Willow Springs, North Carolina. Her parents, Otha Leach and Caretha Bell, were sharecroppers, and she was the fourth of ten children. Her parents were staunch supporters of education and made sure that all of their children knew this. Her parents further instilled in the children a sense of self-respect and a belief that with knowledge they could do anything.

As a child growing up in a family of sharecroppers, Adams-Ender realized early that she wanted more out of life. Her perseverance in continuing her education while missing school to work the farm with her family was evident when she graduated second in her class at the age of sixteen. Although she enrolled in a nursing program, her first career choice was to be a lawyer. However, in 1956 her father believed that ...

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Ginny Crosthwait

professor and educationaladministrator, was born Rosie Elizabeth Allen in Americus, Georgia, to Ulysses Grant Allen and Velma Douglas Allen. After completing a BS in Biology at Albany State College in Georgia, Allen-Noble taught in three Georgia high schools: the Vienna High and Industrial School (1960–1961), West Point High School (1962–1963), and Carver High School in Columbus (1963–1964). She also served as chairperson of the biology department at Columbia High School in Decatur, Georgia, from 1965 to 1970. Allen-Noble and Daniel Bernard Noble married in April 1964 and divorced in April 1968. They have one child, Antoinette Celine Noble-Webb.

While working on a master's degree in zoology at Atlanta University, Allen-Noble taught courses in biology, anatomy, and physiology at Spelman College, also in Atlanta (1965–1966). She completed the MS in 1967. From 1970 to 1976 she ...

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Shari Rudavsky

nursing educator and administrator, was born in Milledgeville, Georgia, the daughter of a poor family about whom nothing is known. In 1901 Andrews applied to Spelman College's MacVicar Hospital School of Nursing. On her application, she asked for financial assistance, explaining that her family could not help her pay. Her mother had a large family to support and “an old flicted husband,” who was not Andrews's father. Andrews also said that she had been married but did not currently live with her husband and expected no support from him. Letters praising Andrews and talking about her “good moral character” that came from the pillars of Milledgeville society proved instrumental in securing Andrews's admission.

In 1906 Andrews received her diploma from Spelman and set upon her life s work During her training she resolved that I wanted to work for my people how or where this was to be done ...

Article

Dalyce Newby

Alexander Thomas Augusta was born a free African American in Norfolk, Virginia, to parents whose names and occupations are unknown. Augusta received his early education from a Bishop Payne, defying a law that forbade African Americans to read or write. He continued to improve his reading skills while working as an apprentice to a barber. His interest in medicine led him to relocate to Baltimore, Maryland, where he studied with private tutors. Eventually, Augusta moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to serve an apprenticeship. Although he was denied entry to the University of Pennsylvania, Augusta caught the attention of Professor William Gibson, who allowed the young man to study in his office.

In January 1847 Augusta married Mary O. Burgoin in Baltimore Maryland They lived in California for three years before returning to the East Coast so that Augusta could pursue a medical degree Denied access ...

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Billy Scott

physician, otolaryngologist (an ear, nose, and throat specialist), inventor, and administrator, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of George W. Barnes, a laborer, and Eliza Webb Barnes and his two sisters lived poverty stricken lives on Lombard Street in a very poor area of the city Barnes decided at an early age to become a physician a decision unheard of and regarded in his neighborhood as preposterous His parents tried to discourage him from pursuing what to them seemed an impossible dream for a poor black youth hoping rather that he would focus on finding realistic employment Nevertheless determined Barnes walked ten miles every day to and from school and from his after school work as a porter and messenger for jewelry shops During summers he worked as a porter in hotels Seeing those who lived a far different and more elegant life than his own inspired ...

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Edward T. Morman

physician and public health activist, was born in Point-á-Pitre, Guadeloupe, French West Indies, the son of Eleodore Cornely and Adrienne Mellon. When he was three years old, his family moved to Santurce, Puerto Rico. In 1920 the family relocated to Harlem for one year and then moved to Detroit, where his father found work in an auto plant.

After attending Detroit City College, Cornely transferred to the University of Michigan. He earned his AB in 1928 and his MD in 1932 both from the University of Michigan where he was one of 4 blacks in a medical school class of 250 students Unable to get an internship in the North he spent a year at the segregated Lincoln Hospital in Durham North Carolina He intended to continue with specialty training in surgery but effectively barred from a residency he returned to the University of Michigan to study public ...

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Dalyce Newby

nurse, educator, and community advocate, was born in Shelby, North Carolina, the daughter of an unlawful interracial marriage between Darryl Elliott, a part African American Cherokee sharecropper, and Emma (maiden name unknown), the daughter of a plantation owner and Methodist minister. Darryl Elliott fled the state early in Davis's life, leaving her to be raised by her mother. Both parents had died by 1887, after which Davis was raised in a succession of foster homes. At the age of twelve she was sent to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she lived under the guardianship of the Reverend Vickers. In the Vickers household she was regarded more as a domestic helper than a ward; consequently her early formal education was pursued on a sporadic basis. Determined to succeed, she possessed the intrepidity to improve her reading skills on her own.

In 1896 at the age of fourteen ...

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Edward C. Halperin

physician, was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, the son of Smith Donnell, a real estate developer, and Lula Ingold. Donnell was raised in Greensboro, where he attended the public schools for African Americans and the high school operated by North Carolina Agricultural and Technical University. He received an AB in 1911 from Howard University and an MD in 1915 from Harvard University. While at Harvard he studied under Milton J. Rosenau, the world-renowned scientist in preventive medicine and founder of the world's first school of public health, at Harvard in 1909. Since few hospitals would accept African Americans as interns at the time of Donnell's medical school graduation, he rotated as a fellow and observer at Boston City Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Children's Hospital from 1915 to 1916. Donnell's subsequent career was devoted to African American health education, insurance, and banking.

African ...

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Spencie Love

blood plasma scientist, surgeon, and teacher, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Richard Thomas Drew, a carpet-layer, and Nora Rosella Burrell. Drew adored his hard-working parents and was determined from an early age to emulate them. Drew's parents surrounded their children with the many opportunities available in Washington's growing middle-class black community: excellent segregated schools, solid church and social affiliations, and their own strong example. Drew's father was the sole black member of his union and served as its financial secretary.

Drew graduated from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in 1922 and received a medal for best all around athletic performance he also won a scholarship to Amherst College At Amherst he was a star in football and track earning honorable mention as an All American halfback in the eastern division receiving the Howard Hill Mossman Trophy for bringing the greatest athletic ...

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Caryn E. Neumann

physician and activist, was born Lena Frances Edwards in Washington, D.C., the youngest of three children of Thomas Edwards, a professor of dentistry at Howard University, and Marie Coakley. Dissuaded from becoming a dentist by her father, the young Lena instead set her heart on a medical career. She graduated from Dunbar High School as valedictorian in 1918 and enrolled at Howard University. Her plans were nearly derailed when she fell victim to Spanish influenza during the deadly epidemic of 1918. Edwards managed to sufficiently recover to quickly resume her studies. The experience of narrowly escaping the “purple death” may have influenced Edwards to cram as much as possible into every hour of every day remaining to her. She took summer classes at the University of Pennsylvania and earned a bachelor's of science from Howard in June 1921 after only three years of study Accepted ...

Article

Paulette Coleman

medical educator, medical school administrator, researcher, and immunologist, was born Anna Cherrie in New Orleans, Louisiana, the daughter of Dr. Ernest Cherrie Sr., a radiologist who practiced family medicine, and Ann Cherrie, a former schoolteacher who became a full-time homemaker after marriage. Cherrie's brother, Ernest Cherrie Jr., became a physician like his father. In spite of her upbringing in the segregated South, Cherrie and her brother were shielded from the harsh realities of racism. Books, classical music, stimulating conversation, and a parade of accomplished visitors like Andrew Young Sr., father of former congressman, U.N. ambassador, and Atlanta mayor Andrew Young, and Ernest Nathan (Dutch) Morial who became the first African American mayor of New Orleans were fixtures of her privileged environment Precocious Cherrie was close to her father who instilled in her the importance of service to others a strong work ...

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Elvatrice Parker Belsches

physician, surgeon, hospital administrator and founder, author, and medical organizational leader, was born at Redmonds, near Charlottesville, in Albemarle County, Virginia. Kenney was the second of three children born to the ex-slaves John A. and Caroline Howard Kenney. The elder Kenney was a farmer, storekeeper, community leader, and owner of a forty-acre farm. According to unpublished autobiographical sketches in the Kenney Papers, Kenney's parents could not read or write during his youth; however, they were determined that their children would be educated. Kenney's father spearheaded building across the road from his country store a one-room log house, which became the community's first country day school for black children. In addition to school and working in his father's store, Kenney learned all the intricacies of farming, from planting to sales.

The Kenneys experienced a grave loss when John was about fourteen His father who according ...

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Todd L. Savitt

physician, educator, and advocate for African American physicians, was born near Brownsville, Tennessee, the son of John Henry Lynk, a farmer, and Mary Louise Yancy, both former slaves. Miles's parents, members of the Colored (now Christian) Methodist Episcopal (CME) church, founded in nearby Jackson, Tennessee, named their son after the CME's first two bishops, William Henry Miles and Richard H. Vanderhorst. Miles received basic education from his mother, a country school near Brownsville, a tutor he hired with money he had earned, and a course of self-teaching, which he called attending “Pine Knot College.” At age seventeen Miles taught at an African American summer school in a neighboring county and used the money to apprentice himself to Jacob C. Hairston, a local physician and graduate of Meharry Medical College in Nashville. Robert Fulton Boyd a Meharry professor was sufficiently impressed with Lynk s ...

Article

Bridget Brereton

physician and pharmacologist, was born in Cocoye Village, Trinidad, to Lewis Albert Maloney, a building contractor and grocery chain operator, and Estelle Evetta (Bonas) Maloney, a needlepoint teacher to young women. Maloney has the distinction of being the first African American professor of pharmacology in the nation and the second person of African descent to earn both a medical degree and a doctorate of philosophy in the United States.

Arnold began his career planning to become a druggist in Trinidad. He studied at Naparima College in Trinidad, a school affiliated with Cambridge University in England, where he received the Bachelor of Arts degree in 1909 Maloney had expectations of becoming a druggist in Trinadad however after receiving an unexpected letter from his uncle suggesting greater opportunities existed in the United States he migrated to New York to study medicine During this same year while attending Lincoln ...

Article

Mary Krane Derr

physician, educator, and community advocate, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, third among the six children of Marie Graves, a homemaker, and Homer E. Nash, a doctor. Helen and her brother Homer E. Nash Jr. were both inspired to enter medicine by their father's example. A 1910 Meharry graduate, their father ran a private practice on Atlanta's Auburn Avenue, working up to his death at age ninety-four in 1981. Helen also grew up quite aware of a much-admired black woman physician, Georgia Dwelle, who founded and directed Atlanta's first successful, black-run private and maternity hospital, the Dwelle Infirmary, where Nash was in fact born.

A family tragedy shaped Nash s choice to specialize in pediatrics Her firstborn sibling a girl died at twenty two months from a gastrointestinal illness that caused severe diarrhea and dehydration Well into the twentieth century diarrhea related dehydration was ...

Article

Robert Fikes

surgeon and medical educator, was born Claude Harold Organ Jr. in Marshall, Texas, the second of three children born to Claude Harold Organ Sr., a postal worker, and Ottolena Pemberton, a schoolteacher. At age sixteen Claude Jr. graduated as valedictorian from Terrell High School in Denison, Texas, and followed his sister to Xavier University, a historically black Catholic school in New Orleans, from which he graduated cum laude in 1948.

Inspired by the achievements of the celebrated physician-inventor Charles Richard Drew and encouraged by two maternal uncles Organ chose to study medicine He was not allowed to enroll at the University of Texas because of his race His application to Creighton University in Omaha Nebraska however was accepted and he became only the second African American to be admitted into its medical school A focused hard driven student with a gift for public speaking Organ ...

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Dalyce Newby

Charles Burleigh Purvis was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Robert Purvis, Sr., a well-to-do abolitionist, and Harriet Forten, daughter of James Forten, a prosperous sailmaker and civic leader. Purvis received his early education in Quaker-administered public schools and then at Oberlin College, 1860–1863. For his medical studies he attended Wooster Medical College, which later was incorporated into Western Reserve University Medical School, in Cleveland, Ohio, graduating with an M.D. in 1865. During the summer of 1864 Purvis served as a military nurse, based at Camp Barker, a contraband hospital in Washington, D.C., which later formed the foundation of Freedmen's Hospital.

Upon graduating he petitioned to and was accepted by the U S Volunteers as an assistant surgeon for the Union army one of only eight African Americans accepted as surgeons during the war He held the rank of first ...

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Dalyce Newby

physician and medical educator, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Robert Purvis Sr., a well-to-do abolitionist, and Harriet Forten Purvis, daughter of James Forten, a prosperous sailmaker and civic leader. Purvis received his early education in Quaker-administered public schools and then at Oberlin College, which he attended from 1860 to 1863. For his medical studies he attended Wooster Medical College, which later was incorporated into Western Reserve University Medical School, in Cleveland, Ohio, graduating with an MD in 1865. During the summer of 1864 Purvis served as a military nurse, based at Camp Barker, a contraband hospital in Washington, D.C., which later formed the foundation of Freedmen's Hospital.

Upon graduating he petitioned to and was accepted by the U S Volunteers as an assistant surgeon for the Union army one of only eight African Americans accepted as surgeons during the war He ...

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Shari Rudavsky

Roman Charles Victor was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the son of James William Roman, a former slave, and Anna Walker McGuinn, the child of a former slave. Roman's parents met in Canada, where his father had fled about twenty years before the Civil War. After the Emancipation Proclamation a year and a half before Charles s birth they had moved back to the United States but making a living there was difficult and by the time Charles was six the family returned to Ontario where his father worked as a broom maker From an early age Charles knew he wanted to be a physician Soon after the move to Canada he apprenticed himself to a local herbalist possibly his grandmother His practice ended when one of his patients parents became nervous about the treatment Roman had administered and called in the local doctor who ...

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Shari Rudavsky

physician and medical educator, was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, the son of James William Roman, a former slave, and Anna Walker McGuinn the child of a former slave Charles s parents met in Canada where his father had fled about twenty years before the Civil War After the Emancipation Proclamation a year and a half before his birth they had moved back to the United States but making a living there was difficult and by the time Charles was six the family had returned to Ontario where his father worked as a broom maker From an early age Charles knew he wanted to be a physician Soon after the move to Canada he apprenticed himself to a local herbalist possibly his grandmother His practice ended when one of his patient s parents became nervous about the treatment Roman had administered and called in the local doctor who ...