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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

Charles Rosenberg

physician, newspaper founder, and attorney, initiated the challenge to Louisiana's “Separate Car Law,” which led to the U.S. Supreme Court decision to uphold “separate but equal” public accommodations in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896). Martinet was born free, the second of eight children born to Pierre Hyppolite Martinet, a carpenter who arrived sometime before 1850 in St. Martinsville, Louisiana, from Belgium, and his wife, the former Marie-Louise Benoît, a native of Louisiana. Benoît is generally referred to as a free woman of color, but there is a record in St. Martin Parish Courthouse that Pierre Martinet purchased her freedom on 10 January 1848 from Dr. Pierre Louis Nee, along with her mother and their infant son Pierre. They were married on 7 December 1869 in St Martin de Tours Catholic Church St Martinsville Louisiana before the Civil War Louisiana law did not permit ...

Article

Clare J. Washington

health care professional and union official, was one of five children. Her family lived in a very large tenement building, in what was an often seedy, rough neighborhood on the south Side of Chicago. She attended Chicago public schools, and then she managed to get a scholarship to the University of Illinois. After only six months, she had to return home and find a job. Her brother had been drafted into the U.S. Army, and there was no longer a source of income for the family.

During World War II, nurse's aide positions shifted from being the domain of upper-class women volunteers to poor (often black) women. As shortages and turnover became more prevalent in the hospitals, the conditions of work for these women worsened. In 1946 Roberts became the first African American nurse s aide hired at the University of Chicago Lying In Hospital She felt isolated ...

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

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

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 ...