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Article

Elizabeth Miller

conjectural early human, also known as Mitochondrial Eve, was proposed by Rebecca L. Cann and her fellow researchers in 1987 Using mitochondrial DNA inherited only along the maternal line Cann and her associates examined 147 individuals and produced a genetic evolutionary tree showing branching from two sets of individuals one set of African ancestry and a second set of mixed African and other ancestry The most parsimonious explanation of the tree was that modern humans originated in Africa from a single source which Cann and her coworkers named Eve at a date between 140 000 and 290 000 years ago Subsequent research has placed this date more accurately at approximately 200 000 years ago by comparing ten human genetic models African Eve is a mathematical model and not an actual fossil of human remains Nonetheless most scientists now agree that she is the most recent woman who is ancestral ...

Article

M. Cookie E. Newsom

dentist, was born a slave in the Panthersville District of Dekalb County, Georgia. His mother (name unknown) was a slave, and his father, J. D. Badger was a white dentist and also his master Roderick had several brothers including Robert and Ralph all of whom had the same white father but different mothers In many ways his life story can be seen as an example of the complex relationships between the races in the antebellum and postbellum South where the black and white societies were supposed to be separate but where mixed race children were common growing ever more numerous in the decade leading up to the Civil War As the son of his owner Badger enjoyed the privileges associated with that status including his eventual freedom and prosperity However his status as a mulatto and as a professional man did not protect him from many of the ...

Article

Adam Jones

traveler and writer from what is now southern Ghana, was born c. 1827 in or near the Asante capital of Kumasi. In contemporary documents, his name often appears as Aquassie Boachi. His father Kwaku Dua (c.1797–1867) was Asantehene (King of Asante) from 1834 to 1867. According to the “History of Ashanti,” prepared in the mid-twentieth century under the chairmanship of Asantehene Prempeh II (1892–1970), Kwasi Boakye belonged to the village of Atomfuo, 8 miles (13 km) east of Kumasi. This suggests that on his mother’s side he came from the lineage of royal blacksmiths, which may explain why, in 1837 in accordance with his father s wishes he and a close relative of the same age Kwame Poku were chosen to accompany a Dutch embassy under Major General Jan Verveer on its return to Elmina on the coast They were subsequently brought to ...

Article

Caroline DeVoe

businessman, landowner, farmer, and lynching victim, was born into slavery in Abbeville, South Carolina, the youngest son of Thomas and Louisa, slaves on the plantation of Ben Crawford in Abbeville, South Carolina. After Emancipation and Ben Crawford's death, his widow Rebecca may have bequeathed land to her former slave, Thomas, Anthony's father. Thomas continued to acquire land, and in 1873 he purchased 181 acres of fertile land from Samuel McGowan, a former Confederate general and South Carolina Supreme Court Justice. Thomas Crawford's “homeplace” was located in an alluvial valley, approximately seven miles west of the town of Abbeville. The rich land was flanked on the east by Little River and on the west by Penny Creek.

While Crawford's brothers worked the family farm Anthony was sent to school walking seven miles to and from school each day Seventeen year old Anthony was ...

Article

Barbara A. White

fugitive slave, Baptist minister, and abolitionist leader on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, was born the son of his wealthy white owner and Mary, one of his father's slaves on a plantation in Virginia. No account has been found yet which reveals his father's name or how James Crawford himself was named. Though stories about how and when he escaped slavery are in conflict, all of them agree that his white half brother broke his promise to their dying father to free Crawford. Instead, Crawford was sent into the fields to work. His obituary in the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror claimed that he escaped the first time by running to Florida to live among the Seminole Indians for two years as a preacher The same account claimed that his half brother then the master of the plantation spent a fortune to recapture him and then strung him up by the thumbs ...

Article

Eric Gardner

activist and educator, was born in Baltimore, Maryland. Nothing is known of his parentage or youth. He was probably the James Gilliard listed in the 1860 Federal Census of Stockton, California; if this is the case, he was a barber, his wife was named Charlotte (c. 1835– ?), and had a step-daughter, Mary E. Jones (c. 1848– ?). In the late 1860s Gilliard worked as a teacher and sometime-minister in the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church and spent time in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. He wrote several short pieces for the San Francisco Elevator—sometimes under his full name and sometimes using simply “J. E. M.”—and was noted by the editor Philip Bell as one of the weekly's best contributors (along with Thomas Detter and Jennie Carter). Gilliard was even occasionally noted as the paper's “associate editor.”

Gilliard lectured throughout California in 1870 ...

Article

Leyla Keough

Whether bought by Russians at the slave markets of Constantinople, or by the tsar himself in the Netherlands, scholars agree that Abram, who was born in Eritrea and asserted that he was the son of an Ethiopian prince, entered Russia in 1700 and began his service with the Royal Court in 1705. Within two years Abram, who later adopted the surname Hannibal, had won the favor of Tsar Peter I, known as Peter the Great, who became his godfather when he joined the Russian Orthodox Church. The newly baptized Abram Petrov served as the tsar's personal valet both in Russia and away from it during his military campaigns.

After nine years in service to the court, the tsar sent Hannibal to Paris for further education. In 1718 he joined the French army to gain access to the best military engineering program and during his service he was ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

a Congolese pygmy infamously exhibited at New Yorks’ Bronx Zoo, was born into a Twa (pygmy) community living in what is now the Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. He grew up in the domain of Ndombe, a small monarchy ruled by a Luba-speaking clan on the outskirts of the Kuba kingdom. Almost nothing is known of his early life or his family, although he is reputed to have been—like many of his people—an elephant hunter. Samuel Verner, a Presbyterian missionary from North Carolina stationed at the Fwela mission in Ndombe in the late 1890s, agreed to find pygmies to be exhibited at the 1904 Saint Louis World's Fair. Verner visited a town of Baschilele people near Ndombe in March 1904 At a slave market there he found Ota Benga who had been captured by African soldiers in the Force Publique colonial army of Leopold II s ...

Article

Steven J. Niven

elephant hunter, Bronx Zoo exhibit, and tobacco worker, was born in the rain forest near the Kasai River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. The historical record is mute on the precise name of his tribe, but they were a band of forest-dwelling pygmies—averaging less than fifty-nine inches in height—who had a reciprocal relationship with villagers of the Congolese Luba tribe. Otabenga and his fellow pygmies hunted elephants by playing a long horn known as a molimo to replicate the sound of an elephant bleat. Once they had roused the animal from the forest, they killed it with poisoned spears and traded the elephant hide and flesh to the Luba villagers in exchange for fruits, vegetables, and grains. Very little is known about Otabenga's family life, other than that he was married with two children by the age of twenty.

Around that time while ...

Article

Eunice Angelica Whitmal

was born to an enslaved mother in South Carolina. The names of her parents are not recorded, but Randon labored in the homes of the Boozie family, according to her granddaughter, Annie Mae Hunt. Little else is known about Randon’s early life. The Boozie family sold her parents and siblings, forever separating the family, until Randon was reunited with one of her sisters’ daughters.

The documented evidence of enslaved women s lives reveals the complicated double oppression of race and gender one that Randon had to endure as she navigated slave culture Among various historical resources the fear and threat of sexual violence and assault against black women is constant Unfortunately at thirteen years old Randon was not spared this indignity when living with her owners Perhaps seeking a moment of redress she disclosed to her mistress that she had been raped by the mistress s son The mistress did ...

Article

Boyd Childress

(b. 30 October 1895; d. 19 March 1960), physician. Grandson of an Alabama slave and himself a prominent Detroit physician, Ossian Sweet was unwillingly at the center of one of the nation's major racial trials of the twentieth century. Born and raised in rural Florida, Sweet graduated from Wilberforce University and Howard University Medical School. He opened a successful practice in Detroit in 1921 and married the next year. Sweet and his wife traveled to Europe, where Sweet studied in Vienna and then in Paris under Marie Curie. After the birth of their daughter, the Sweets returned to Detroit in 1924.

In 1925 Sweet purchased a home on Garland Avenue in one of Detroit s white lower middle class neighborhoods Racial tension in Detroit was already high and a neighborhood Waterworks Improvement Association was formed in July for the unveiled purpose of maintaining ...

Article

Daniel Wein

physician, was born Ossian Haven Sweet in Orlando, Florida, the eldest of nine surviving children of Dora DeVaughn and Henry Sweet. In the summer of 1898 the Sweets bought a plot of land in the town of Bartow, approximately forty-five miles east of Tampa, where they ran a successful farm and lumberyard. Ossian attended Union Academy (Bartow's all-black public school) through the eighth grade. In September 1909, at the age of thirteen, he began preparatory work at Wilberforce University in Xenia, Ohio, the nation's first black college. He was initially awarded a scholarship, but it was rescinded due to lack of funds. Sweet did odd jobs around campus to help cover expenses. He started the college program in the fall of 1913 concentrating in the sciences with the goal of entering medical school Sweet earned his BS a general science degree that focused on biology chemistry ...

Article

Barbara Worley

During the 1930s Max Theiler developed vaccines that protected millions of people from the incurable tropical affliction known as yellow fever. For his contributions, he was awarded the 1951 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. Born in Pretoria, Theiler studied medicine at the University of Cape Town, leaving for England in 1919 for Saint Thomas’s Hospital Medical School, London, where he completed his medical training in 1922. That year, he moved to the United States, joining the Department of Tropical Medicine at the Harvard Medical School. In 1930 he accepted a post with the Rockefeller Foundation in New York City. He remained with the foundation until 1964 when he became professor of epidemiology at Yale University New Haven Connecticut At Harvard Theiler s early research interest was in amebic dysentery but he soon switched his efforts to yellow fever An important finding during the 1920s was that ...

Article

Stephen Wagley

South African medical researcher and Nobel Prize winner active in the United States, was born in Pretoria, Transvaal (South African Republic, later South Africa), on 30 January 1899, the son of Arnold Theiler, a veterinarian, and Emma Jegge.

Theiler studied at Rhodes University College, Grahamstown, before entering the two-year premedical program at the University of Cape Town; he graduated in 1918. He left for London in 1919 and underwent medical training at Saint Thomas’ Hospital, University of London, receiving a diploma of tropical medicine and hygiene in 1922; he was denied the MD because the university did not recognize his studies at Cape Town. He never received an academic degree.

While taking a course at the London School of Tropical Medicine, he met Oscar Teague of Harvard University, who offered him a position there. Theiler moved to the Harvard University School of Tropical Medicine in 1922 where ...

Article

Gary L. Frost

Egyptian Nobel Prize–winning chemist, was born on 26 February 1946 in Damanhur, Egypt, the only son of Hassan Ahmed Zewail, a civil servant and businessman, and Rawhia Rabiʿe Dar. He and three younger sisters grew up in Rashid (also known as Rosetta) and were educated in state schools. Zewail earned a master’s degree (1968) at the University of Alexandria and a PhD in chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania (1974). From 1974 until 1976 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1976 he joined the faculty of the California Institute of Technology, serving as Linus Pauling Professor of Chemistry and professor of physics since 1995. He also served as the director of the National Science Foundation Laboratory for Molecular Sciences at Caltech from 1996 to 2007. In 2005 he became director of the Physical Biology Center for Ultrafast ...