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Theodore Cohen

was born on 20 January 1908 in Tlacotalpan, Veracruz, to Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán, a medical doctor, and Pilar Beltrán Luchirí, the descendant of Ignacio María Luchichí, a well-known writer in the surrounding Papaloapan basin of southern Mexico. Though born into an elite family with no African ancestry, Aguirre Beltrán had a major impact on how we understand the African heritage of Mexico. In addition, he was interested in social issues, had an affinity for anarchism, and read scholars such as Georg Friedrich Hegel and Karl Marx. In 1921 he moved to Mexico City to continue his preparatory studies, and in 1927 he enrolled in medical school at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (National Autonomous University of Mexico). Having finished his thesis, “El metabolism basal en lasnefrosis” (Elemental Metabolism in Nephrosis), he graduated in 1931. He married Judith Avendaño, and they had five children.

After finishing medical school Aguirre ...

Article

James McCarthy

Scottish explorer, naturalist, surgeon, and philologist who opened up the Niger region to European trade and influence, was born in Kirkwall, Scotland, the eldest son of a Royal Navy captain, John Baikie. He was educated for a time at Kirkwall Grammar School in Orkney, but mainly privately, in company with his cousins. He gained a medical degree from Edinburgh University, where he also developed his interest in natural history. In 1848, together with Robert Heddie, he wrote the first part of a published study of the natural history of Orkney, Historia naturalis Orcadensis. In the same year he joined the Royal Navy as an assistant surgeon, serving on no less than five different ships in the Mediterranean before being appointed in the same capacity to Haslar Hospital, Portsmouth, from 1851 to 1854. It was from here in 1854 that through the patronage of the influential Sir Roderick ...

Article

María Teresa Cortés Zavala

(who during the regime change in Puerto Rico in 1898 led the Republican Party), was born on 7 September or 27 July 1857 in the town of Bayamón, located in the north central area of the island of Puerto Rico. Celso Barbosa was the eldest son of Hermógenes Barbosa, a bricklayer, and Carmen Alcalá. The Barbosa family was part of a wave of immigration to Puerto Rico in the first half of the nineteenth century. Hermógenes Barbosa was descended from a group of Dominican exiles who left Santo Domingo during the Franco-Haitian occupation. They were black people who were artisans, farmers, and ranchers. His mother, although born on the island, belonged to a second generation of Venezuelans living in Puerto Rico who witnessed their economic situation diminish, and were compelled to express their reformist position at a time of economic and political crisis.

The Barbosa Alcalá family was part of ...

Article

South African surgeon who carried out the world’s first human-to-human heart transplant, was born into an impoverished Afrikaner family at Beaufort West, South Africa, on 8 November 1922. His father, the Reverend Adam Hendrik Barnard, was a clergyman of the Dutch Reformed Church for Coloured, or mixed-race, people, and his mother was Maria Elisabeth de Swart. He was educated at Beaufort West High School before training as a doctor at the University of Cape Town’s medical school, where he graduated MB, ChB, in 1945. Having done his internship at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, he worked for a short time as a rural general practitioner in Ceres, in the western Cape, before returning to Cape Town to become senior medical officer at City Hospital and then registrar at Groote Schuur Hospital. In 1953 he gained his MD for his dissertation The Treatment of Tuberculosis Meningitis Later ...

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Félix Ojeda Reyes

was born in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, on 8 April 1827 to Felipe Betances Ponce, of Dominican origin, and María del Carmen Alacán, of Puerto Rican origin, the well-off owners of a sugar plantation called Hacienda Carmen. On 21 April he was baptized and registered by church officials in the Book of Mulattoes. Shortly after his mother’s death on 10 February 1837, Betances’s father sent him to Grisolles, near Toulouse, in the southwest of France. Under the care of the Prévost-Cavallieri family, Betances, always an excellent student, studied at the Collége Royal in Toulouse. In 1848 the year of the revolutions that toppled absolutist supremacy in Europe he entered the College of Medicine at the University of Paris At that historic moment Betances commenced a lifetime of political engagement and activity by participating in the antimonarchist revolution of 24 February which established the Second French Republic Although his ...

Article

Geoffrey Roper

French surgeon and medical administrator in Egypt, was born at Grenoble on 5 November 1793, the son of Louis Clot and Marie Bérard. He studied medicine in Montpellier and at the Hospice de la Charité in Marseilles, where he subsequently practiced as a surgeon. There he was recruited in December 1824 by agents of Muhammad ʿAli, who invited him to join the group of European technocrats assisting in the modernization of Egypt in the 1820s. Of these he was probably the one who left the greatest and most lasting legacy of improvement and reform in his particular sphere of operation. His writings also made a contribution to the knowledge of contemporary Egypt in nineteenth-century Europe.

On 11 February 1825 Clot took up his position as surgeon in chief and in 1827 established the first modern medical school in Egypt at Abu Zaʿbal where European medical knowledge and practice ...

Article

Terencia Kyneata Joseph

was born in Georgetown in Colonial British Guiana (now Guyana) on 17 November 1901. Between 1906 and 1909, he immigrated with his parents Percival Conrad and Gertrude Maynard (née Johnson) to New York. A sickly child, he was sent by his parents to Barbados each winter, where he attended private schools until the age of 14, when he moved permanently to New York City and attended Townsend Harrison High School.

After high school, Maynard pursued studies in mathematics and physics at the College of the City of New York, graduating in February 1922 with a B A in mathematics and physics Maynard initially wanted to be an engineer but pursued a degree in medicine instead Although he qualified for admission to Columbia University s College of Physicians and Surgeons he was dissuaded from attending by the dean of the college He was informed that a position at ...

Article

Jeffrey Green

was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, on 2 December 1876 and attended to Queen’s Royal College in 1888. In 1896 he was awarded one of four Island Scholarships and went to Scotland where he studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh. While there, he was influenced by professor John Wylie, and after he achieved his primary qualifications, he returned to the island to work at the general hospital in Port of Spain.

In 1902 he commenced studies at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, and in 1903 completed his M D at Edinburgh with a thesis on glaucoma McShine established his medical practice in Port of Spain and volunteered to work as an eye surgeon at the hospital two days each week He became active in medical social matters including tuberculosis often regarded as a poor person s illness although it affected every level of society Poverty and ...

Article

Robert Fay

Born in Eichstedt, Germany, Gustav Nachtigal earned his medical degree after attending several German universities. He practiced as a military surgeon until 1863 when health concerns forced his move to Algeria. He then moved to Tunis, Tunisia, where he served as a physician for the bey of Tunis, learned Arabic, and traveled often to the Saharan interior. Aborting a planned return to Germany, he began a journey in 1869 to bring gifts to the sultan of Bornu on behalf of Wilhelm I, King of Prussia. He traveled through territories presently known as Chad and Sudan, visited Tombouctou, Mali, and was the first known European to visit the Tibesti region or to make the journey from Chad to the Nile River. He faced hardships, delays, and imprisonment before reaching Cairo, Egypt in November 1874.

The expertise Nachtigal gained on these journeys led to ...

Article

Ernest Cole

Gambian writer and medical practitioner, was born Lenrie Wilfred Leopold Peters in Bathurst, now Banjul, on 1 September 1932 He was the third child and first son of Lenrie and Kezia Peters His two older siblings are Bijou Peters Bidwell and Florence Peters Mahoney Lenrie was followed by two other children his younger sister Ruby Peters and brother Dennis Alaba Peters The family history of the Peterses goes beyond the borders of the Gambia As descendants of liberated Africans he could trace his family history to Sierra Leone and the Yoruba culture in Nigeria In his unpublished eulogy for Lenrie Peters Tijan M Sallah traces the Peterses ancestry to the Maxwells who were the first African graduates of Oxford University He adds that T he Maxwells were by all tests Afro Victorians and therefore among Africa s early westernized elites The elder Maxwell was a Sierra Leonean of Yoruba ...

Article

Joy Elizondo

The child of a washerwoman and a musician, José Manuel Valdés was born in Lima, Peru's capital city, when nearly half its population was black. Though his parents could not afford to educate him, his godparents and mother's employers stepped in, seeing to his early education at a prominent religious school. He would later become the first black writer to publish in Peru, both as a doctor and as a poet, as early as 1791.

After completing school, Valdés yearned to become a priest, but during the colonial period blacks were denied access to the priesthood by the Catholic Church, and he turned instead to medicine. He could have prospered as a romancista, a type of medical practitioner that required little training and was restricted to “external remedies.” In 1788 he took the more challenging route and pursued the title of latinista surgeon for ...