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Article

Theodore Cohen

was born on 20 January 1908 in Tlacotalpan, Veracruz, to Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán, a medical doctor, and Pilar Beltrán Luchirí, the descendant of Ignacio María Luchichí, a well-known writer in the surrounding Papaloapan basin of southern Mexico. Though born into an elite family with no African ancestry, Aguirre Beltrán had a major impact on how we understand the African heritage of Mexico. In addition, he was interested in social issues, had an affinity for anarchism, and read scholars such as Georg Friedrich Hegel and Karl Marx. In 1921 he moved to Mexico City to continue his preparatory studies, and in 1927 he enrolled in medical school at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (National Autonomous University of Mexico). Having finished his thesis, “El metabolism basal en lasnefrosis” (Elemental Metabolism in Nephrosis), he graduated in 1931. He married Judith Avendaño, and they had five children.

After finishing medical school Aguirre ...

Article

Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán was born and received his primary and secondary schooling in Veracruz, where there was a strong African influence, before studying medicine in Mexico City. In the 1920s and 1930s intellectuals such as José Vasconcelos undertook pioneering studies of Indians in Mexico, whose culture and history had largely been viewed with disdain until then. The studies resurrected a degree of interest in and dignity for Indian heritage. Although Vasconcelos argued that much of indigenous culture should be subsumed in a larger Mexican culture, Aguirre Beltrán believed that indigenous cultures were worthy of study for their own sake. After graduating from the University of Mexico with a medical degree, Aguirre Beltrán returned to Veracruz, where he held a post in public health that further sparked his interest in Indian ethnicity and history. In 1940 he published two studies on the ethnohistory of colonial and precolonial Indians in ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Togolese medical doctor and politician, was born on 2 September 1913 in Lomé, the capital of the West African German colony of Togo. His parents belonged to a Ewe-speaking community. His father, Andréas Aku, was the first Togolese head of the Protestant Church of Togo and had been ordained by German missionaries. His mother was Caroline Aku.

Naturally, Aku attended Protestant missionary schools in Lomé from 1920 to 1928 The German Protestant pastor Gottfried Stoevesandt was so impressed with Aku s intellectual ability that he invited him to attend secondary school in Germany His relatively poor but influential parents agreed For the handful of Togolese students able to continue their education in Europe between World War I and World War II the medical field was the most attractive subject of their studies Aku passed the German baccalaureate examinations and then with the support of the Bremen Protestant mission entered ...

Article

South African surgeon who carried out the world’s first human-to-human heart transplant, was born into an impoverished Afrikaner family at Beaufort West, South Africa, on 8 November 1922. His father, the Reverend Adam Hendrik Barnard, was a clergyman of the Dutch Reformed Church for Coloured, or mixed-race, people, and his mother was Maria Elisabeth de Swart. He was educated at Beaufort West High School before training as a doctor at the University of Cape Town’s medical school, where he graduated MB, ChB, in 1945. Having done his internship at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, he worked for a short time as a rural general practitioner in Ceres, in the western Cape, before returning to Cape Town to become senior medical officer at City Hospital and then registrar at Groote Schuur Hospital. In 1953 he gained his MD for his dissertation The Treatment of Tuberculosis Meningitis Later ...

Article

Amilcar Priestley

was born in St. Lucy, Barbados, on 15 November 1916. She was the second child and eldest daughter of her parents’ five children. Her father was the Reverend Reginald Barrow, a controversial Anglican priest who gave sermons against racism and social stratification, which resulted in his dismissal from his post in St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. Her mother was Ruth O’Neal Barrow, sister of Dr. Charles Duncan O’Neal, who was the founder of the Democratic League and is regarded as a national hero of Barbados. After attending primary school in St. Croix, where her father had a congregation, she entered St. Michael’s Girls’ School in Barbados—the island’s first high school to accept girls—in 1928. After graduating in 1934 she began a career in nursing first at the Barbados General Hospital then as a midwife at Port of Spain General Hospital in Trinidad and later as ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Chadian medical doctor, was born on 16 June 1956 in the eastern Chadian city of Abéché Her parents were Brahim Djadarab and Fatimé Fadoul She had four siblings her brother Issa Michel and her sisters Khalié Sadié Ibni Oumar Mahamet Saleh and Rakié The entire family attended primary school in Abéché and Brahim excelled in her education Her family supported her studies and she completed her secondary education at the Lycée Franco Arabe at Abéché Her father pressured her to study English but she found the language impractical in eastern Chad Even so she learned the language which would later prove to be extremely useful when she lived in Canada Her commitment to school impressed her Chadian and foreign teachers Missionaries and her family also strongly encouraged her Since there were no final classes to prepare for the baccalaureate examinations in Abéché in the early 1970s she had to ...

Article

nurse, affectionately known as “Cherry,” was born Eumeda Powis in the largely rural parish of Clarendon, Jamaica, on 16 January 1939. Her father, Ferdinal Powis, was a farmer. Her mother’s name and occupation are unknown. She attended the Collington and Crooked River Schools in the parish, and later, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, she went on to receive a tertiary education in Great Britain, attending Trafford College and Manchester Polytechnic. Her studies at the tertiary level established her in the field of healthcare, in which she had a distinguished career. She married Arthur S. Byfield and gave birth to two children while residing in Britain for over thirty years. It was here that Byfield did extensive work in nursing. Nursing was not her only passion, however. She was committed to community development in both Britain and her home county of Jamaica.

Byfield took refuge in her work ...

Article

Edwin Corena Puentes

was born in the city of Cali, Colombia, to Alicia Angulo and Héctor Caicedo, parents of African descent. From a very young age, he demonstrated in his math classes a strength for defining realities with numbers. He went to high school at the Colegio Antonio José Camacho, then completed his undergraduate studies at the Universidad del Valle, where he earned a degree in electronics engineering in 2005. During those years of training, he began to contribute to research projects in topics such as information services and thin-film technology. For his academic performance and discipline, he was advised by researchers at the university’s Escuela de Electrónica (Electronics School) to participate in the creation of a digital electrocardiograph system. In more common terms, this is a cardiovascular diagnostic procedure that is commonly utilized in modern medicine.

Caicedo s passion for research and innovation in the field of applied technology for curing ...

Article

Togarma Rodriguez

was born on 6 July 1919 in San Pedro de Macorís to Eduardo Maturino Charles and Alicia Dunlop. At the age of 21, he married Luz del Carmen Vizcaino, his wife until his death sixty-seven years later. The couple had six children: Carmen Mireya, Nelson Eduardo, Eduardo Aníbal, Mirtha Gladys, Minerva, and Altagracia.

He completed his secondary education at Santo Domingo’s old Escuela Normal and later enrolled in the Universidad de Santo Domingo, where in 1946 he graduated with a medical degree as part of a larger cadre of talented peers who were responsible for the advancement of medical sciences in the Dominican Republic. Among them were Mariano Lebrón Saviñón, Mario Fernández Mena, Simón Hoffiz, Adolfo Pérez González, Juan Read Encarnación, Julio César García, Napoleón Perdomo, and Jaime Acosta Torres.

Charles Dunlop believed in serving his people and making his medical skills available to every Dominican irrespective of means He ...

Article

Lara Putnam

was born in Panama on 14 July 1914 to parents of British Caribbean ancestry. Their families, like so many others, had been drawn to the isthmus by the economic dynamism surrounding the construction of the Panama Canal (1904–1914). Clark’s mother, Miriam Hanson, was born in Jamaica and reached Panama around 1904 at the age of 6; her mother sold baked goods there, while her father labored on the Canal. Clark’s father, Arthur Bancroft Clark, was born in Costa Rica to Jamaican immigrant parents and moved to Panama as an adult. They married when Miriam was only 16. Kenneth’s birth in 1914 was followed by that of his sister Beulah in 1917.

The difference between the racial formation Clark experienced in Panama and that he would later encounter in Harlem was prominent in his recollections of early childhood In British West Indian Panama blackness was the norm so ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Senegalese medical researcher and government minister of health, was born in 1951 in Dakar, Senegal. She attended primary and secondary schools in Dakar, where she drew attention because of her aptitude for science and her athleticism. She played on the Senegalese national women’s basketball team in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Coll-Seck received a medical degree from the University of Dakar in 1978 and commenced her medical practice the same year. She worked as a doctor in hospitals in the French city of Lyons as well as her hometown of Dakar in the late 1970s and the 1980s.

In 1989 Coll-Seck was named to the faculty of the medical school of the University of Dakar and chief medical officer of infectious diseases at the Dakar public hospital. In the 1990s Coll Seck was noticed by the international medical and public health community for her ...

Article

Adell Patton

Liberian physician and medical educator, was born to a Liberian settler class family in the capital city of Monrovia, Montserrado County, Republic of Liberia, West Africa. He was the fourth son and fourth child of Charles Henry Cooper and Maryann Dabadolo Cooper née Johnson. In his formative years Cooper resided at the Cooper family estate in Kormah, Clay-Ashland, and in Monrovia. His formal education began at the Mary McGritty Elementary School in Monrovia, and later he attended high school at the College of West Africa, Monrovia, from which he graduated in 1944.

In pursuit of higher education, Cooper enrolled at Clark College (a historically black college) in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1946. In 1950 Cooper graduated magna cum laude with the degree of bachelor of science. In that same year Cooper entered Meharry Medical College (another historically black college) in Nashville, Tennessee. He graduated in 1954 with the ...

Article

Miguel Gonzalez Perez

was born in Bilwaskarma, in Nicaragua’s North Atlantic Autonomous Region, on 10 November 1947. She is best known for the leading role she played in promoting the peace negotiation process that in 1986 ended a ten-year military conflict that pitted the FSLN (Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, or Sandinista National Liberation Front) revolutionary government against the Miskito indigenous rebels who were struggling for autonomy along the Nicaraguan Caribbean coast. She is also an international advocate for the rights of indigenous peoples.

Cunningham grew up in Waspam the capital city of the Wangki River region near the border with Honduras which is considered the motherland of the Miskito people She was born to Nester Judith Kain Nelson and Wilfred Bill Cunningham Davis both from Pearl Lagoon on the southern part of the Caribbean coast She grew up in a working class family of mixed cultural heritage of Miskito African and ...

Article

Peter Limb

known popularly as “Mota” (Gujerati term of affectionate respect) or “Doc,” South African communist, liberation movement and Indian leader, and physician, was born in Krugersdorp in 1909 to Muslim Indian immigrants Mohamed and Amina, who in 1904 started a business in Krugersdorp. The son of a prosperous merchant, racial segregation soon affected Yusuf as he traveled daily to working-class Fordsburg to attend Indian-only schools.

After early schooling, he left for India, matriculating at Aligarh Muslim College, where Gandhi’s anticolonial movement left a deep impression. Refusing to enter the family business, in 1929 he moved to London to study medicine and got involved in anticolonial politics. His father insisted he move to Edinburgh to avoid politics, and in 1936 Dadoo graduated with Glasgow and Edinburgh medical degrees, but his political involvement with the Independent Labour Party and Indian National Congress intensified as he began to read Marxist literature.

In 1936 ...

Article

Donna A. Patterson

Senegalese politician, pharmacist, and author, was born in Saint-Louis, Senegal, on 30 September 1922. His father worked as a colonial official, and his mother was a homemaker. In 1935, Diop’s father died; his mother followed two years later, leaving Diop, aged fifteen, and his four siblings orphaned. The death of his parents kindled a desire to excel in his studies, and after completing his secondary education in Saint-Louis and Dakar, Diop was admitted to French West Africa’s School of Medicine and Pharmacy.

The curriculum at the School of Medicine and Pharmacy was abbreviated during the early years, with initial terms of three and fours years of study. Despite the initial brevity, graduates from these programs were extensively trained in local hospitals and clinics. Likewise, in his memoirs (Mémoires de luttes: Textes pour servir à l’histoire du Parti Africain de l’Indépendance, 2007 Diop describes his training ...

Article

antiapartheid activist, medical doctor, and South African politician, was born in KwaZulu-Natal on 27 January 1949, the eldest of eight children. In defiance of popular practice at the time, her father, a rural Catholic schoolteacher, insisted that she receive a formal education. She was sent to Adams College in Amanzimtoti (then called the Amanzimtoti Zulu Training School) where she completed high school in 1967. She earned her BSc with majors in zoology and botany from the University of Zululand in 1971, before moving to the University of Natal to work as a research technician and to study medicine. Here she became involved with student politics, working as an underground operative for the African National Congress (ANC), and, alongside fellow University of Natal student Steve Biko, serving as a member of the South African Students Organisation, to which she was elected as deputy president in 1976 the ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

medical doctor and playwright in Sierra Leone, was born on 15 January 1913 in Freetown, the capital of Sierra Leone. The Easmon family was prominent among the Freetown elite and was descended from the black American and Canadian settlers who moved from Nova Scotia to Freetown in 1792, only five years after the foundation of this small British colony. His father, H. C. F. Easmon, was one of the most highly regarded African doctors in Sierra Leone, and his paternal grandfather, James Farrell Easmon, was one of the first Africans to work as a Western-trained doctor in Sierra Leone and Ghana. Easmon recalled how hard his father struggled to battle the influenza epidemic that ravaged Freetown in 1918 and 1919 He recalled in the 1980s Father had literally to doctor the whole city Easmon was educated at the Prince of Wales secondary school in Freetown before he moved ...

Article

Elisabeth Bekers

Egyptian feminist, physician, fiction writer, and political activist, was born in the village of Kafr Tahla, near Cairo, Egypt, on 27 October 1931. She was the second of nine children born to al-Sayed El Saadawi (1897–1959), a peasant family’s son who became an inspector in the Ministry of Education, and Zayneb Hanem Shoukry (1913–1958), daughter of an impoverished feudal family descending from Grand Vizier Talaʿat Pacha of Istanbul. Both of her parents were anxious to have their daughters as well as their sons educated. Nawal El Saadawi began her schooling at Muharram Bey Girls’ School in Alexandria, where the family briefly lived until al-Sayed was transferred to the small district town of Menouf in the Nile Delta in punishment for his participation in anti-British and antiroyal demonstrations. From 1938 until 1948 the El Saadawis remained in Menouf where Nawal attended the English primary school Despite his aversion to ...

Article

David Alan Rego

was born in Glasgow, Scotland, at St. Mary’s Hospital for Women, the same institution where his Jamaican-born mother was pursuing studies as a nurse-midwife. Upon completion of her studies in 1967, Carmen Fenton returned to Jamaica with her young son Kevin, reuniting with her husband, Sydney, a high school chemistry teacher and later principal at Kingston’s Excelsior High School. Kevin’s siblings are Peter, a physician; Kim, a mathematics lecturer; and Keisha, a business-woman.

Kevin Fenton attended high school at Wolmer’s Boys School in Kingston, Jamaica. After graduating from Wolmer’s, he enrolled at the University of the West Indies (UWI) as a computer science major, only to transfer to the Faculty of Medicine in 1985. He was elected class president in 1985 and 1986, and in 1987 he was elected vice president of the UWI Medical Student’s Association. Following graduation with honors from medical school in 1990 ...