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Caryn E. Neumann

physician and activist, was born Lena Frances Edwards in Washington, D.C., the youngest of three children of Thomas Edwards, a professor of dentistry at Howard University, and Marie Coakley. Dissuaded from becoming a dentist by her father, the young Lena instead set her heart on a medical career. She graduated from Dunbar High School as valedictorian in 1918 and enrolled at Howard University. Her plans were nearly derailed when she fell victim to Spanish influenza during the deadly epidemic of 1918. Edwards managed to sufficiently recover to quickly resume her studies. The experience of narrowly escaping the “purple death” may have influenced Edwards to cram as much as possible into every hour of every day remaining to her. She took summer classes at the University of Pennsylvania and earned a bachelor's of science from Howard in June 1921 after only three years of study Accepted ...

Article

Amy M. Hay

Edwards’s service was also recognized in 1967 when she received the Poverello Medal, awarded to individuals whose lives followed the ideals of Saint Francis of Assisi. Blessed with financial and familial support, her ministry to poor European immigrants and Mexican migrants, her own life of voluntary poverty, and her service to the African American community all made her a worthy recipient of such honors. She spent a lifetime addressing the needs of the poor, women, students, and the aged.

Edwards was born in Washington, DC. Her parents, Thomas Edwards, a professor of dentistry at Howard University, and Marie Coakley Edwards, had three other children. Edwards grew up in a middle-class family, part of the capital’s elite society at the time. At an early age she decided she wanted to become a doctor. She attended Washington’s Dunbar High School, graduating in 1917 as valedictorian She attended Howard ...

Article

E. Beardsley

physician, was born in Aiken, South Carolina, the daughter of Anderson Evans and Hariett Corley, occupations unknown. Her improbable achievement of breaking through the hostile racial environment of post-Reconstruction South Carolina to become a physician was due largely to her drive and talent. It was also a tribute to certain outside influences at work in the South of her youth.

In 1868 moved by the current of interracial idealism that was galvanizing so many northern progressives the Philadelphia Quaker Martha Schofield had established in Aiken a school for colored youth Although it emphasized industrial skills the school also offered a sizable infusion of cultural and scientific subjects Evans won a place at Schofield s school and her performance was so impressive that it caught the notice of the Quaker benefactress who encouraged and aided the younger woman to continue on at the preparatory academy of Oberlin College ...

Article

Darlene Clark Hine

At the outset of the Great Depression in 1930, Dr. Matilda Arabella Evans launched a free-clinic movement that inspired the Columbia, South Carolina, black community to demand healthcare citizenship rights, even as the state became less inclined to adopt any progressive reform that would improve the material conditions of black lives. Dr. Evans, however, insisted that healthcare was a citizenship right that was every bit a state responsibility, as was public school education.

Matilda Arabella Evans was the eldest of three children born to Anderson and Harriet Evans in Aiken County, South Carolina She came of age during the tumultuous post Reconstruction era The New South held scant opportunities for social class mobility higher education and professional careers for black women But Evans was more fortunate than most She was one of the few desperately poor black women who managed to escape the lifelong consignment to domestic drudgery ...

Article

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 ...