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Jeannette Elizabeth Brown

pediatrician and pioneer in medical studies for African Americans, was born in New York City, the second daughter of Lionel and Hilda Burnett, who immigrated to the United States from Barbados in the 1920s. Her father obtained a position in the post office, and her mother was a seamstress. Her parents valued education for their children, so they moved from Manhattan to the Bronx, seeking neighborhoods that had the best schools for their girls. Carol was very bookish and spent much of her time in the public library. Because of her good academic record—she skipped a grade in elementary school—she was accepted into Hunter High School, a selective high school for girls. She was only one of four black girls in a class of thirty; this was the only time she had been in a predominantly white school, but her classmates all accepted her without discrimination.

When she graduated ...