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Julia A. Clancy-Smith

Tunisian physician, was born to an old, well-known family of Tunis. Her widowed mother played a pivotal in her education starting from primary school. Both Tawhida and her sister were enrolled in the School for Muslim Girls, an academic institution prized for its first-class education, which had opened in 1909 in the family’s neighborhood. During the 1920s in Tunis while Bin Shaykh attended secondary school the feminist movement took off and was marked by a watershed event in 1924 Manubiya Wartani a young Tunisian woman attending a public conference devoted to the question of feminism and women s rights removed her veil and stood up in the crowd to make a speech At about the same time Bin Shaykh had a chance encounter that would utterly change the course of her life she made the acquaintance of a respected French physician Dr Etienne Burnet and his Russian wife Lydia ...

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Dorsia Smith Silva

physician, politician, and delegate to the U.S. Congress, was born Donna Marie Christian in Teaneck, New Jersey, to Virginia Sterling Christian and retired Chief District Court Judge Almeric L. Christian, from St. Croix. Christian-Christensen's parents wanted their daughter to understand her cultural connections to the Virgin Islands, so she spent part of her adolescence in St. Croix. This time in St. Croix had a profound influence on Christian-Christensen's career and commitment to helping others.

Christian-Christensen returned to the United States to graduate from St. Mary's College in Notre Dame, Indiana, where she earned a B.S. degree in 1966. After reading a United Negro College Fund booklet about the lack of minorities in health care, she decided to enter the medical field. She attended George Washington University Medical School and earned an M.D. degree in 1970. From 1970 to 1971 Christian Christensen worked an as ...

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Brandi Hughes

nurse, foreign missionary, and school founder, was born to Anna L. Delaney and Daniel Sharpe Delaney in Fernandina Beach, Florida. Emma Beard Delaney came of age in the postbellum generation that witnessed the collapse of Reconstruction and the fading of the early promise of African American emancipation. Against the rising tide of segregation and racial violence, however, Delaney's family managed to sustain a measure of economic security and educational advancement. Her father, Daniel, held the distinction of being the only African American helmsman commissioned for service on the Revenue Cutter Boutwell, a federal ship that patrolled the ports of Savannah, Georgia; Jacksonville, Florida; and Charleston, South Carolina, as a forerunner of the U.S. Coast Guard. The unique benefits of her father's government employment enabled the Delaney family to support an expansive education for Emma and her sister, Annie. In 1889 shortly after completing secondary classes ...

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Joycelyn Elders was born Minnie Joycelyn Jones in Schaal, a poor, remote farming village of southwestern Arkansas. Her parents, Haller and Curtis Jones, were sharecroppers, and all eight of their children—Joycelyn was the oldest—worked with them in the cotton fields. The family shared a three-room cabin with no electricity, and the children walked several miles to attend an all-black school. At the age of fifteen, Elders received a scholarship to Little Rock's Philander Smith College, also a school for blacks. There, she met a doctor for the first time in her life and Edith Jones, the first black woman to attend the University of Arkansas Medical School (UAMS). Elders later credited these experiences with inspiring her to become a doctor.

Elders received a bachelor's degree in 1952 and spent the better part of the next two decades advancing in the medical profession First she served in the ...

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Modupe Labode

physician, was born Justina Laurena Warren in Knoxville, Illinois. Her parents were Melissa Brisco Warren and Pryor Warren; Melissa Warren's first marriage ended with the death of her husband, Ralph Alexander. When Justina was very young, the family moved to nearby Galesburg, Illinois. She was the seventh child in her family. Her mother was a nurse, which may have influenced Justina's early interest in medicine. Ford recalled that as a young girl she was so focused on becoming a doctor that she wove her passion for medicine into all of her activities. She played hospital, tended the ill, and even used her chores, such as dressing chickens, to study anatomy.

In December 1892 Justina Warren married the Fisk-educated Reverend John E. Ford. After her marriage, Justina Ford enrolled in Chicago's Hering Medical College, and graduated in 1899 She and her husband moved to Normal Alabama ...

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Charles Rosenberg

physician in several capacities at the Howard University medical school, as well as in private practice and public service in Washington, DC, was born in Dandridge, Tennessee, on the Cumberland plateau east of Knoxville.

The names of her parents, and her own maiden name, have not been established. The 1900 census records that her father was born in Massachusetts, and her mother in Tennessee, but the 1910 census that both were born in Tennessee. She came to Washington in 1889 with her husband, Reverend Jeremiah L. Hall, who is never mentioned in any subsequent reference to her life and work. An 1890 city directory lists him living at 1919 ½ 8th St. NW, in the District of Columbia.

Julia Hall entered Howard University College of Medicine in 1889 and graduated in 1892. She was the twentieth of 278 women who received medical degrees from Howard between 1872 ...

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 ...

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The daughter of Charlie and Dorothy Jemison, a maintenance supervisor and schoolteacher in Decatur, Alabama, Mae Carol Jemison was raised in Chicago, Illinois. Graduating from Morgan Park High School in 1973 at the age of sixteen, she entered Stanford University on a National Achievement Scholarship. Jemison graduated in 1977 with two concurrent bachelor's degrees, in chemical engineering and African/Afro-American studies. She then entered Cornell Medical School, graduating in 1981 and interning in Los Angeles, California.

Jemison joined the Peace Corps in January 1983 and worked as a medical officer in West Africa through July 1985. In 1987 she was accepted by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) as an astronaut candidate, one of fifteen who were accepted from among 2,000 applicants. She completed a one-year training and evaluation program in August 1988 and became a science mission specialist helping prepare the space shuttles for ...

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Martha Ackmann

baseball player, was born Mamie Belton in Ridgeway, South Carolina, the daughter of Della Belton, a hospital dietician, and Gentry Harrison, a construction worker about whom little else is known. Mamie spent her early years in Ridgeway, where she attended Thorntree School, a two-room schoolhouse. Part of a large family that included twelve half brothers and half sisters, Mamie lived with her maternal grandmother, Cendonia Belton, while her mother worked in Washington, D.C. Mamie's uncle, Leo “Bones” Belton, was so close to her in age that she regarded him more as a brother than as an uncle. Belton introduced her to baseball. Along with other children in the area, “Bones” and Mamie played baseball on a makeshift diamond, with a lid from a bucket of King Cane sugar serving as home plate and baseballs made of rocks wrapped in tape.

After her grandmother s death ...

Article

Morgan Taggart-Hampton and Susan Bell

physician, surgeon, and medical researcher, was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, the youngest daughter of Adella Hunt Logan and Warren Logan, well-respected members of black Alabama society and teachers at the Tuskegee Institute. Her father was one of the first people appointed to the Tuskegee Institute by Booker T. Washington in 1882; Warren Logan was also its treasurer and member of the Board of Trustees. After her retirement from Tuskegee in 1888, her mother, Adella Logan, became an avid suffragist and women's rights activist.

Myra Logan grew up on the Tuskegee campus, attended Tuskegee High School, and graduated with honors in 1923. She was the valedictorian of her class at Atlanta University, where she graduated in 1927. She earned a Master's in Psychology from Columbia University before attending New York Medical College. Encouraged by her brother-in-law, Dr. Eugene Percy Roberts a well ...

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Caryn E. Neumann

nurse, was born Mary Elizabeth Mahoney in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, the eldest of the three children of Charles Mahoney and Mary Jane Steward (or Stewart). Little is known about Mary Mahoney's parents, North Carolina natives and possibly former slaves who migrated to Boston soon after their marriage. In 1855 the Phillips Street School became the first desegregated school in Boston, and the Mahoneys took advantage of this chance to obtain an education for their daughter. At the age of ten Mary Mahoney entered the first grade and apparently continued her education through the eighth grade, at a time when most women, black and white, had less schooling.

Mahoney became an untrained nurse in 1865 A devout Baptist she may have pursued nursing out of a religious calling as did many women Sometime in the 1870s she obtained a job as a cook washerwoman and scrubwoman ...

Article

Anna B. Coles

Mary (Eliza) Mahoney was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, now a part of Boston. Her parents, Charles and Mary Jane Stewart Mahoney, were originally from North Carolina. Mahoney had two siblings, Ellen and Frank.

It is not known why, when she was almost thirty-three years old, Mahoney chose the career of a trained nurse. Perhaps the graduation of Linda Richards from the New England Hospital for Women and Children in 1873, as America's first trained nurse, inspired her. It is not known whether or not Mahoney's race was an obstacle to her acceptance at the hospital. If it is true that she cooked, washed, and scrubbed before or during her training, such employment was not uncommon. She graduated as a trained nurse in 1879 after completing the sixteen-month period of training, which was no small achievement. Of the forty who applied with her in 1878 only ...

Article

Kaseem Robinson

Her parents’ identities are unknown. Many sources indicate that McCoy was of at least partial Mohawk ethnicity but according to the 1920 and 1940 U.S. Federal Census, she was identified as African American. Reed was married at the age of nineteen to Ireston T. McCoy; her husband was a butcher in a packing house. According to the New York Age newspaper, in 1915 McCoy was an active member of the A.M.E. Zion Church, a leading African American denomination, where she performed songs and recited many poems.

When the Dixwell Community House opened in New Haven, Connecticut in 1924, McCoy was named as its first associate director. In 1928 she became the founder of the first black Girl Scout troop in the United States Troop 24 in New Haven While she was associated with the Dixwell Community Q House Troop 24 was renamed the Laura Belle McCoy Girl Scout ...

Article

Karen Jean Hunt

physician and educator, was born Alice Woodby in Bridgewater, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Charles Woodby and Elizabeth B. Frazier. As a child Alice suffered from the loss of her sight and remained blind for three years. After recovering she attended public schools in Bridgewater, less than thirty miles from Pittsburgh.

From 1884 to 1886 Woodby attended Hampton Institute in Virginia. Although she never graduated, Woodby fully embraced the Hampton principles of “education for life” and “learning by doing.” In an 1897 letter to the Southern Workman she explained her decision to leave Hampton: “Students were sent out to teach one year before graduating. Not wishing to become a teacher, I thought it best not to begin, for fear the temptation to continue might thwart my plans for obtaining my profession.”

Woodby entered the Institute for Colored Youth (ICY) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1886 The ICY was one ...

Article

As a child, Susan Maria Smith McKinney-Steward trained and performed as an organist. Her early training qualified her for teaching positions, and she taught school in Washington, D.C., and New York City, using the proceeds of her New York teaching to pay tuition for medical school.

McKinney-Steward began medical study at the New York Medical College for Women in 1867. She specialized in homeopathic medicine and graduated as class valedictorian after three years. After receiving her degree she achieved wealth and a local reputation as a successful Brooklyn physician with an interracial clientele. McKinney-Steward excelled especially in pediatric care and the treatment of childhood diseases. Outside her medical practice she agitated for social reform, advocating female suffrage and temperance. Until the early 1890s she remained the organist for the African Methodist Episcopal church where she regularly worshiped.

Both of McKinney Steward s husbands were ministers She was ...

Article

Thomas Long

a nurse, was born into slavery and given the name Jensey (also spelled “Gensey” in the public record) Snow. She later took the name Jane Minor after being manumitted by her Petersburg, Virginia, slaveowner Benjamin Harrison May and becoming married to Lewis Minor. She demonstrated extraordinary nursing skill, courage, and generosity, first in attending to the sick during a fever epidemic (which prompted May's decision to free her), then in using the money she earned subsequently to purchase and free over a dozen other slaves, and in creating a hospital in Petersburg. She also became the mother-in-law of Joseph Jenkins Roberts, a former resident of Petersburg, the African American who became the first president of Liberia.

As the historian Todd L. Savitt notes health care in the antebellum South consisted of a varied landscape of sometimes competing sometimes complementary models and methods of care Trained allopathic ...

Article

Jason Philip Miller

educator and psychologist, was born in San Marcos, Texas, one of eleven children to Samuel Andrew Beverly, a waiter, and Veola Hamilton, a homemaker. Her exact birth year is not known, though 1895 has been reported with greatest frequency. The family was poor, but education was valued, and many of the Beverly children went on to earn high school and college degrees. Money, though, was hard to come by, and the family was itinerant through much of Prosser's childhood. She eventually attended Yoakum Colored School in tiny Yoakum, Texas, graduating in 1910 as valedictorian. There was little money for college, but Prosser was allowed to continue her education when an older brother chose marriage over a college degree. She matriculated to Prairie View State Normal and Industrial College (later Prairie View A&M University) and in 1912 graduated from the normal school with a two year degree ...

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Cecily Jones

African‐Americanabolitionist and women's rights campaigner born in Salem, Massachusetts, to John and Nancy Lenox Remond, free middle‐class Blacks. Despite her family's wealth, racial discrimination within the northern segregated school system meant that she received a limited education and she was primarily self‐educated. Raised in a family that included many abolitionists, Remond learned from childhood of the horrors of slavery and witnessed many incidents involving the Underground Railroad. Her parents played host to many of the movement's leaders, including William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips, and to more than one fugitive slave.

At the age of 16 Remond began to join her brother Charles Lenox Remond, the leading abolitionist of his day, on anti‐slavery lecture circuits across northern states. A vociferous opponent of both slavery and of the racial segregation that existed in the ‘free’ North, in 1853 she successfully won a case for damages for ...

Article

Karen Jean Hunt

abolitionist, physician, and feminist, was born in Salem, Massachusetts, the daughter of John Remond and Nancy Lenox. Her father, a native of Curaçao, immigrated to the United States at age ten and became a successful merchant. Her mother was the daughter of African American Revolutionary War veteran Cornelius Lenox. Remond grew up in an antislavery household. Her father became a life member of the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society in 1835, and her mother was founding member of the Salem Female Anti-Slavery Society, which began as a black female organization in 1832. Sarah's brother, Charles Lenox Remond, was a well-known antislavery lecturer in the United States and Great Britain.

Sarah Parker Remond attended local public schools in Salem until black students were forced out by committee vote in 1835 Determined to educate their children in a less racist environment the Remond family moved ...

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Laura M. Calkins

physician, was born in Wales in the United Kingdom. While still a young child she moved with her parents to Holland Patent, New York. As a youngster Roberts became very ill with an unspecified malady that, according to contemporary accounts, seemed “likely to promise for her only a life of invalidism.” Roberts's parents arranged for her to be cared for in Utica, New York, by the white physician and homoeopathist Dr. Caroline Brown Winslow.

Brown, a native of Utica, had earned MD degrees at the Eclectic Medical College in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1853 and at the Western College of Homeopathy in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1855 or 1856. Then unmarried, Brown practiced in Utica between 1856 and 1864, and it was during this period that she began to care for Grace Roberts. When Brown moved to Washington, D.C., in 1864 to assist in the care ...