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Ralph E. Luker

Barber, Jesse Max (05 July 1878–23 September 1949), African-American journalist, dentist, and civil rights activist, was born in Blackstock, South Carolina, the son of Jesse Max Barber and Susan Crawford, former slaves. Barber studied in public schools for African-American students and at Friendship Institute in Rock Hill, South Carolina, where he graduated as valedictorian. In 1901 he completed the normal school course for teachers at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, and afterward entered Virginia Union University in Richmond. There Barber was president of the literary society and edited the University Journal. In 1903 Barber earned an A.B. and spent the summer after graduation as a teacher and traveling agent for an industrial school in Charleston, South Carolina.

By November 1903 however Barber had moved to Atlanta to accept an offer from a white publisher Austin N Jenkins to assist in launching a new literary journal ...

Article

Ralph E. Luker

journalist, dentist, and civil rights activist, was born in Blackstock, South Carolina, the son of Jesse Max Barber and Susan Crawford, former slaves. Barber studied in public schools for African American students and at Friendship Institute in Rock Hill, South Carolina, where he graduated as valedictorian. In 1901 he completed the normal school course for teachers at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina, and afterward entered Virginia Union University in Richmond. There Barber was president of the literary society and edited the University Journal. In 1903 Barber earned a bachelor's degree and spent the summer after graduation as a teacher and traveling agent for an industrial school in Charleston, South Carolina.

By November 1903, Barber had moved to Atlanta to accept an offer from a white publisher, Austin N. Jenkins, to assist in launching a new literary journal, the Voice of the Negro ...

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 ...

Article

George White

psychiatrist, educational reformer, and author. Born to working-class parents during the Great Depression, James Pierpont Comer became a world-renowned child psychiatrist. He spent his childhood in East Chicago, Indiana, but then traveled to the East Coast and did work at some of America's most prestigious academic institutions. By the early twenty-first century he stood as an intellectual pioneer and an advocate for disadvantaged children.

Comer's parents lacked extensive formal education, and both worked outside the home—his father as a laborer at a steel mill and his mother as a domestic. Yet they created an environment that cultivated self-esteem, confidence, and high academic achievement for James and his siblings. After completing high school in 1952, Comer attended and graduated from Indiana University, but his negative experiences in Bloomington encouraged him to attend medical school elsewhere. He earned his MD in 1960 from Howard University and a ...

Article

Allan D. Austin

political activist, doctor, newspaper editor, and author, was born in Charles Town, Virginia (now West Virginia), son of Samuel Delany, a slave, and Pati Peace, the free daughter of free and African-born Graci Peace. In 1822 Pati fled with her children to Chambersburg, Pennsylvania; Samuel joined her in 1823 after purchasing his freedom.

In 1831 in Pittsburgh, Delany studied history, geography, literature, and political economy, informally, with Lewis Woodson and Molliston M. Clark. Here Delany began his restless, wide-ranging advocacy of African American political rights, cultural self-reliance, and independent enterprise. Opposed to physical and “servile” work, Delany apprenticed himself to a white doctor in 1833. During his time in Pittsburgh he joined or helped found several African American antislavery, temperance, historical, literary, and moral reform societies. When Pennsylvania rescinded black suffrage in 1839 Delany explored Mexican Texas where slavery was illegal and ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

physician and newspaper publisher, was born in Chipley, southern Florida, but his family moved to Omaha, Nebraska, where he was educated in the local public schools.

Goodlet graduated from Howard University in 1935, having served as president of the student body and editor of Hilltop, the campus newspaper. He began graduate studies at the University of California, receiving a doctorate in Child Psychology in 1938. For the next year, he was a member of the faculty at West Virginia State College in Institute, West Virginia. In 1939 he authored a report on “The Mental Abilities of Twenty-nine Deaf and Partially Deaf Negro Children,” published in the West Virginia Bureau of Negro Welfare Statistics. Entering Meharry Medical College in Nashville, he was awarded an M.D. in 1944. Goodlett married Willette Hill on 27 November 1943; they divorced in 1968 after an eleven year ...

Article

John G. Turner

the son of Darius McKinley Gray (named for William McKinley, elected president in the year of his birth) and Elsie Johnson Gray. Neighbors in Colorado Springs introduced Darius Aiden Gray to the scriptures of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On Christmas Day 1964, one day before his scheduled baptism into the church, the missionaries planning to baptize him informed him that African Americans could not hold the priesthood. For Mormon men in good standing, ordination into the priesthood is an expectation. The ban on persons of African descent holding the priesthood meant that the church’s black members could not hold positions of authority or participate in the sacred ordinances the church taught were necessary for exaltation into celestial glory.

Gray chose to be baptized despite the ban I went home and prayed he later recounted And I received a personal revelation an inspiration from God This ...

Article

Robert Jr. Johnson

chemist, was the third of five children born in New Bedford, Massachusetts, to parents whose names are not recorded. The grandson of a former slave, his father worked in the local post office, and his mother was self-educated. His was a close-knit family that embraced education as the main route to economic independence and prosperity. All of the children graduated from high school. Knox's older sister went to normal school, and his brothers earned their doctorates. New Bedford had fewer than one thousand blacks when Knox was a child there, yet it was a prosperous community with black physicians and lawyers and even its own black police force. Frederick Douglass had lived there following his escape from slavery and the town had also been an important stop on the Underground Railroad Knox s sense of independence and self reliance was derived from this cultural milieu and it became ...

Article

Thaddeus Russell

physician, civil rights activist, and writer, was born in Waco, Texas, the son of Andrew Jackson Majors and Jane Barringer. In 1869 his family moved to Austin, Texas. After attending public schools in Austin, Majors studied at West Texas College, Tillotson Normal and Collegiate Institute, Central Tennessee College, and finally Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, from which he graduated in-1886.

After medical school Majors practiced medicine in Brenham, Dallas, and Calvert, Texas; he was the first African American doctor in Calvert. In 1886 he established the Lone Star State Medical Association for African American physicians in response to the exclusionary policies of the American Medical Association. Because of his prominence as a black doctor and his support of civil rights for African Americans, Majors became a target of racist threats. In 1888 he moved to Los Angeles to escape the rising antiblack ...

Article

Yolanda L. Watson Spiva

educator and popular therapist, was born in Dania, Florida, the youngest of fourteen children to parents Theophilus and Lucille Morley, vegetable farmers from the Eleuthera and Bahama Islands. Joyce spent her formative years in Dania until 1969, at which time she was sent by her mother to Rochester, New York, to live with her sister. Joyce's mother thought that her daughter might have access to a better educational system and decreased racial tensions in the North. Joyce graduated from Monroe Senior High School in Rochester, New York, two months following her seventeenth birthday. In 1973, she graduated cum laude from SUNY Geneseo with a BS in Elementary Education with a concentration in Psychology. While at Geneseo, Morley, along with her high school sweetheart, Bernard Watson, gave birth to their first daughter, Yolanda. In September 1973 Morley taught first second and third grades beginning ...

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 ...

Article

Jacqueline-Bethel Mougoué

inventor, newspaper publisher, and editor, was born the second son and fifth child to Robert and Frances Pelham near Petersburg, Virginia. In the year of his birth his family moved to Detroit, Michigan, seeking better educational and economic opportunities. Pelham attended the public schools of Detroit and managed to finish a twelve-year educational course in nine years.

In 1871, while still in high school, Pelham sharpened his journalistic skills while working at the Daily Post, a leading Republican newspaper of the time. At the Daily Post Pelham worked under Zachariah Chandler, who not only was the owner of the Daily Post but also was a prominent Republican who went on to become mayor of Detroit and a U.S. senator. This close working relationship probably explains Pelham's later involvement with the Republican Party.

Pelham wrote for the Detroit Daily from 1883 to 1891 While ...

Article

Mary Krane Derr

journalist, physician, business and civic leader, and Caribbean independence activist, was born to the reformer Charles Edgar Petioni and Alicia Martin Petioni in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, British-occupied West Indies. Charles Augustin Petioni graduated from the Boys' Model School, the Government College for Teachers (1900), and the Royal Victoria Institute (Commercial Business Course, 1902). Between the ages of sixteen and twenty-three he was employed as clerk and manager for Felix Potin and Company, a French distributor of specialty foods such as chocolates. He then distinguished himself as chief reporter and sub-editor of Port-of-Spain's Daily Morning Mirror (1908–1916) and editor of the bilingual (Spanish-English) Daily Evening Argos (1917–1918). He also served as an official government reporter for Trinidad's Supreme Court and Legislative Council.

As a journalist Petioni critiqued British rule He took further anticolonial action as founder and officer of the Metropolitan ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Connie Meale

Louis Charles Roudanez was born in St. James Parish, Louisiana, the son of Louis Roudanez, a wealthy French merchant, and Aimée Potens, a free woman of color. Roudanez was raised in New Orleans as a member of the city's free black elite, but in 1844 he left to pursue a professional education in France. In 1853 the faculty of medicine at the University of Paris awarded him a degree in medicine. He graduated with a second medical degree from Dartmouth College in 1857, and soon after he returned to New Orleans to open his own office. In the same year he married Louisa Celie Seulay, and their union produced eight children.

Roudanez continued to build his medical practice during the Civil War and Reconstruction but like other free men of color in New Orleans upon federal occupation of south Louisiana in the spring of ...

Article

Connie Meale

physician, newspaper proprietor, and Republican Party activist, was born in St. James Parish, Louisiana, the son of Louis Roudanez, a wealthy French merchant, and Aimée Potens, a free woman of color. Roudanez was raised in New Orleans as a member of the city's free black elite, but in 1844 he left to pursue a professional education in France. In 1853 the faculty of medicine at the University of Paris awarded him a degree in medicine. He graduated with a second medical degree from Dartmouth College in 1857, and soon after he returned to New Orleans to open his own office. In the same year he married Louisa Celie Seulay; their union produced eight children.

Roudanez continued to build his medical practice during the Civil War and Reconstruction but like other free men of color in New Orleans upon federal occupation of south Louisiana ...

Article

Edward L. Lach and Frank O. Richards

surgeon, was born in Summerville, South Carolina, the son of William H. Sinkler Sr., a teacher, and a mother whose name is unrecorded. After completing his early education, Sinkler attended Haines Normal Institute in Augusta, Georgia, graduating in 1924. He then entered Lincoln University in Oxford, Pennsylvania, where he received an AB in 1928. Active in campus life and an excellent student, he decided on a career in medicine. He enrolled at the Howard University Medical School in Washington, D.C., and continued to experience academic success. Elected a member of Kappa Pi honorary society, he received his MD degree in 1932.

After his graduation from Howard, Sinkler moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he successively completed one year as a junior intern (1932–1933), one year as an assistant resident (1933–1934 and two years as a resident surgeon an internship and residency ...

Article

Patricia J. Thompson

printer and physician in Liberia, Africa, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of the Reverend Samuel Snowden and Lydia W. Snowden.

Isaac H. Snowden grew up in Boston as a free black man in a home where his father was a well-known and well-respected antislavery activist. It is likely that he attended the Abiel Smith School built in 1834–1835 to house the school for African American students. Snowden later became involved in the Young Men's Literary Society, composed of the most promising young African American men in the city, for the purpose of improving and strengthening their intellectual abilities. He served as president in 1847.

Snowden initially made his living as a book newspaper and fancy job printer Following in his father s footsteps he was involved in the antislavery and equal rights movements and was often elected as one of the secretaries of the various meetings ...

Article

Julie Winch

author, printer, and dentist, was born in Augusta, Georgia, the fourth of five children of John Willson, a Scots-Irish banker, and Elizabeth Keating, a free woman of color. Although they never married, Elizabeth eventually took Willson's last name. Shortly before his death in 1822, John Willson wrote a will leaving his “housekeeper” (the term he used to describe Elizabeth's role in his household) and her children two hundred shares of stock in the Bank of Augusta and appointed his friend, the prominent attorney John P. King, as their guardian (by the time Willson wrote his will, Georgia law required free people of color to have a white guardian to administer their property). King sent young Joseph to school in Alabama but he and Elizabeth agonized about the family s prospects given that the Georgia legislature seemed intent on restricting virtually every aspect ...