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Allen, Ethel D.  

Donald Scott

physician and politician, was one of three children born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Sidney S. Allen Sr., a Georgia native, Democratic committeeperson, and tailor with a seventh-grade education whose dream of becoming a doctor was realized by his daughter. Ethel's mother, the former Effie Jean Goodall, was a Democratic committeeperson born in Maryland who operated a tailoring business with her husband for many years. Ethel Allen became fascinated by medicine and the mysteries of life and death as a child while living in North Philadelphia, and she began to move toward medicine while studying at a Catholic institution, the then mostly white John W. Hallahan Girls Catholic High School, although her parents were Baptists.

Allen s intellectual curiosity led to intense scientific and medical inquiry prompted by a visit to an uncle s dental practice as well as by visits to a local physician who kept animal specimens ...


Anderson, Caroline Virginia Still Wiley  

Geraldine Rhoades Beckford

physician, educator, and community worker, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She was the eldest daughter of the abolitionist movement leaders William Still and Letitia George Still. In 1850William Still became the head of the Philadelphia Underground Railroad and Vigilance Committee. He would later chronicle his experiences in the best-selling 1872 account, The Underground Railroad.

After completing primary and secondary education at Mrs. Henry Gordon's Private School, the Friends Raspberry Alley School, and the Institute for Colored Youth, Anderson entered Oberlin College. Although she was the youngest member of the graduating class of 1868, Anderson presided over the annual Ladies' Literary Society, a singular honor that had never been awarded to a student of African ancestry.

After graduating from Oberlin, Anderson returned home to teach drawing and elocution, and on 28 December 1869 she married Edward A. Wiley a former slave and fellow ...


Barnes, William Harry  

Billy Scott

physician, otolaryngologist (an ear, nose, and throat specialist), inventor, and administrator, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of George W. Barnes, a laborer, and Eliza Webb Barnes and his two sisters lived poverty stricken lives on Lombard Street in a very poor area of the city Barnes decided at an early age to become a physician a decision unheard of and regarded in his neighborhood as preposterous His parents tried to discourage him from pursuing what to them seemed an impossible dream for a poor black youth hoping rather that he would focus on finding realistic employment Nevertheless determined Barnes walked ten miles every day to and from school and from his after school work as a porter and messenger for jewelry shops During summers he worked as a porter in hotels Seeing those who lived a far different and more elegant life than his own inspired ...


Childs, Faith  

Robert Repino

literary agent, was born Faith Hampton Childs in Washington, D.C., one of four children of Thomas Childs and Elizabeth Slade Childs, both public school English teachers who had attended Hampton University. Her father, a book collector, encouraged his daughter to learn about the world through reading, which Childs has credited for sparking her interest in literature. Following her graduation from high school, Childs studied history and political science at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, graduating in 1973 Five years later she acquired a law degree at American University in Washington D C Despite practicing law for several years in three different cities Childs found herself in her early thirties in need of a drastic career change The work she has claimed was simply not intellectually challenging Sachs et al and she wished to enter a life of the mind Baker p 50 that her father had encouraged ...


Clark, Kenneth Bancroft  

Lawrie Balfour

Born in the Panama Canal Zone, Kenneth Bancroft Clark grew up with his mother in Harlem, New York. His childhood heroes included poet Countee Cullen, who taught at his junior high school, and book collector Arthur Schomburg, who served as curator at the 135th Street branch of the New York Public Library. After attending integrated elementary and junior high schools, Clark graduated from New York's George Washington High School in 1931.

Clark distinguished himself as an undergraduate at Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he led demonstrations against segregation. While at Howard he met Mamie Phipps, who became his wife and closest intellectual collaborator. The Clarks then went to Columbia University in New York City to study psychology, and in 1940 Kenneth Clark became Columbia s first black recipient of a Ph D degree in psychology Clark joined the faculty of City College ...


Clark, Kenneth Bancroft  

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 ...


Clark, Kenneth Bancroft  

Steven J. Niven

psychologist, was born in the Panama Canal Zone, the son of the Jamaican immigrants Miriam Hanson Clark and Arthur Bancroft Clark. In 1919, Miriam left her husband and brought Kenneth and his sister Beulah to New York City. He attended public schools in Harlem, which were fully integrated when he entered the first grade, but were almost wholly black by the time he finished sixth grade. Kenneth's mother, an active follower of Marcus Garvey, encouraged her son's interest in black history and his academic leanings, and confronted his guidance teacher for recommending that Kenneth attend a vocational high school. A determined woman, active in the garment workers’ union, Miriam Clark persuaded the authorities to send Kenneth to George Washington High, a school with a reputation for academic excellence. In 1931 he won a scholarship to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Clark attended Howard at time of ...


Davis Trussell, Elizabeth Bishop  

Elvita Dominique

physician, professor, mental health activist, and Harlem community leader, was born Elizabeth Bishop in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the eldest of the three children of Shelton Hale Bishop and Eloise Carey. Her mother's father, Archibald James Carey Sr., was an influential African Methodist Episcopal (AME) clergyman in Chicago. Her father's father, Hutchens C. Bishop, was the first black graduate of General Theological Seminary in New York City, the oldest seminary of the Episcopal Church. He was also the fourth rector of the important and influential Saint Philip's Episcopal Church in Harlem. Bishop's parents continued their families' tradition of public service. Her father, who received a BA and a doctorate of divinity from Columbia University, succeeded his own father as the fifth rector of Saint Philip's. Her mother was a teacher.

Elizabeth Bishop s interest in psychiatry can be traced to the work of her father He was an ...


Grubbs, Royal William  

Joann Buckley

was born in Paducah, Kentucky, the oldest of three children of George W. and Amanda Grubbs. His father was a farmer who also worked as a coal and wood dealer to support his children’s education. As a youth Grubbs attended school in Paducah and Louisville, before going on to Simmons University, established by the Baptists in 1879 to educate African Americans. He put himself through college working as a waiter and houseman. After two years at Simmons, he was accepted at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. He graduated with a medical degree in April 1916 and returned to Paducah to practice medicine. The following year he married Sallie B. Williams in Franklin, Tennessee.

Grubbs was one of many Meharry Medical College graduates to enlist in the U S Army during World War I He reported to basic training at the Fort Des Moines Medical Officers Training Camp MOTC for ...


Jones, Edith Mae Irby  

Mary Krane Derr

physician and community leader, was born Edith Mae Irby in Conway, Arkansas, to Mattie Irby, a domestic worker, and her husband Robert, a sharecropper. Several childhood experiences—some traumatic—shaped Edith's early choice of medicine as her profession and the relief of racial health disparities as her special focus. When she was only five, an illness rendered her unable to walk for eighteen months. At six she lost her thirteen-year-old sister and almost lost an older brother in a typhoid fever epidemic. She noticed that people who could afford more medical care fared better with the disease. When she was eight a horse-riding accident fatally injured her father.

The year of her father s death a white doctor and his family hired Edith to help care for their eighteen month old child They told Edith that she was highly intelligent and encouraged her to consider a medical career Members ...


Jones, Thomas Edward  

Joann Buckley

was born at Lynchburg, Virginia to Campbell and Emma (Glenn) Jones. His father was a merchant in Lynchburg and young Jones attended public school there, graduating from Lynchburg High School in 1896. He then attended Howard University in Washington, DC for his undergraduate and medical school education. While still a student, on 3 April 1901 Jones married Leonie Annette Sinkler (1879–1939). She was an accomplished teacher and the daughter of Edward and Mary Sinkler of Charleston, South Carolina.

While in school Jones worked at different times as a newsboy, waiter, messenger, laborer, and watchman in government service. Arthur Bunyan Caldwell wrote of him in his History of the American Negro in 1922, “it was hard work, but he was cheerful and determined. And, he succeeded.” He entered Howard University Medical School in 1908 and completed all his freshman work except histology and physiologic chemistry that ...


McClennan, Alonzo Clifton  

E. Beardsley

physician and professional leader, was born in Columbia, South Carolina, the orphaned son of unknown parents. As with many African Americans of the post–Civil War era, it was Reconstruction that gave McClennan a chance at a larger life. In 1872, at the height of Reconstruction in South Carolina (and thanks to the influence of a guardian uncle), he became a page in the black-dominated state senate. There he won the notice and friendship of the influential legislator Richard H. “Daddy” Cain. That fall Cain ran successfully for Congress, and in 1873, after McClennan passed a competitive examination, Cain appointed his young protégé to the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland.

Only the second African American student to enter Annapolis McClennan who was light skinned enough to pass for white but never denied his race found that the navy had made no accommodation to the new racial ...


Nash, Helen Elizabeth  

Mary Krane Derr

physician, educator, and community advocate, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, third among the six children of Marie Graves, a homemaker, and Homer E. Nash, a doctor. Helen and her brother Homer E. Nash Jr. were both inspired to enter medicine by their father's example. A 1910 Meharry graduate, their father ran a private practice on Atlanta's Auburn Avenue, working up to his death at age ninety-four in 1981. Helen also grew up quite aware of a much-admired black woman physician, Georgia Dwelle, who founded and directed Atlanta's first successful, black-run private and maternity hospital, the Dwelle Infirmary, where Nash was in fact born.

A family tragedy shaped Nash s choice to specialize in pediatrics Her firstborn sibling a girl died at twenty two months from a gastrointestinal illness that caused severe diarrhea and dehydration Well into the twentieth century diarrhea related dehydration was ...


Oliver, Hudson “Huddy”  

Claude Johnson

was born Hudson Jones Oliver, Jr. in New York City, the third child of Hudson Jones Oliver, Sr. and Cecelia Washington Oliver. His father was a longtime stenographer and confidential secretary for Thomas Prosser & Son of Brooklyn, the United States agents for the steel and arms producer Friedrich Krupp AG of Essen, Germany. His mother was a homemaker.

Hudson “Huddy” Oliver was a brilliant player for several historically important African American basketball teams during the late 1900s and early 1910s. He later graduated from Howard University Medical School and became a prominent Harlem physician.

“Huddy” Oliver was the first “superstar” of the Black Fives Era of basketball, the period from 1904, when the sport was first introduced to African Americans on a wide scale organized basis, through the racial integration of the National Basketball Association in 1950 Dozens of African American teams emerged and flourished in New ...


Oxley, Lucy Orintha  

Eric R. Jackson

was born in 1912, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Her mother, Esther W. (Turner) Oxley, was a teacher. When she was three, her father, Edmund H. Oxley, a Harvard-educated minister, originally from Trinidad, moved the family to the West End of Cincinnati, Ohio to become the pastor of St. Andrew Episcopal Church. Gradually Pastor Oxley and St. Andrew Episcopal Church became a thriving institution in the heart of the local African American community in the city. More importantly, during these years, young Lucy started to direct her educational path toward the field of medicine, which was characterized by her graduating early from Woodward High School at the age of sixteen. She quickly applied to the University of Cincinnati (UC) School of Medicine but immediately was denied entrance. Only after much pressure from her father and several prominent local African American Cincinnatians was young Lucy, in 1928 admitted into UC s ...


Scott, Egbert Theophilus  

Joann Buckley and W. Douglas Fisher

Egbert T. Scott came from a large, successful family in Wilmington. His father was a grocer from Virginia. His mother taught at Williston, Wilmington’s leading African American high school. Like several of his older brothers, Scott worked his way through Biddle University (now Johnson C. Smith University) in Charlotte, North Carolina, graduating in 1909 with an arts & sciences degree. After Biddle he moved to the state capital, Raleigh, to study at Shaw University’s Leonard Medical College where he was awarded his M.D. in 1913.

Following graduation Scott moved to Washington, DC, where he interned for a year at Freedmen’s Hospital. After completing his internship in 1914, he moved to Philadelphia to establish a practice. There he worked at Mercy Hospital, which had been established in 1905 and was one of two hospitals for the Philadelphia African American community When the United States entered World War I ...


Smith, Otis W.  

Rosalyn Mitchell Patterson

pediatrician, civil rights and community activist was born Otis Wesley Smith in Atlanta, Georgia, to Ralph Horatio Smith, a baker, and Gertrude Wyche Smith, a housekeeper. Smith's early life and his decision to become a physician were greatly influenced by the untimely death of his father following complications during surgery. Young Smith prayed for his father's recovery and promised he would become a physician for Atlanta's African American community.

Smith attended Booker T. Washington High School, the first public high school for African Americans in Atlanta. In high school Smith, an avid sports enthusiast, was only allowed to participate in boxing; however, his opportunities to participate in sports flourished when he entered Morehouse College as a freshman in 1943. He majored in biology and worked part time at the Butler Street Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) where he played basketball in the afternoon with Martin Luther ...


Temple, Ruth Janetta  

Mary Krane Derr

physician and community health educator, was born in Natchez, Mississippi, second of the six children of Amy Montague (Morton) Temple, an untrained nurse and state-licensed teacher, and Richard Jason Temple, the pastor of Natchez's First Baptist Church and the traveling secretary for a church association. Both parents sustained a warm, intellectually stimulating environment for their children and the constant flow of visitors of all races, religions, and incomes who came to their home. Amy Temple homeschooled the children to protect them from the indignities of segregated public education, and informally but skillfully tended sick community members. In girlhood Ruth Temple considered nursing, but decided on medicine after learning that there were women doctors.

In 1902 Temple s father died suddenly The next day his widow delivered their last child and Ruth tended the baby and her grief paralyzed mother Two years later the family moved to ...


Thompson, Howard Randall  

Joann Buckley

was born in Nashville, Tennessee to Ella Cartwright and educator William S. Thompson. His father was born in Michigan. His mother, Ella Cartwright, Thompson was born a slave in Alabama. Howard’s older sister, John (Johnnie) D., was born in September 1885. She would follow in her father’s footsteps and become a teacher.

Thompson received his early education in Nashville’s public school system. He finished his B.A. from the historically Black Knoxville College in 1909. Upon graduation Thompson pursued a medical education at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis and at Indiana University School of Medicine, Bloomington. The 1913 Arbutus Yearbook says of him, “Booker T. Washington Thompson, as he is familiarly known, is noted for his deep bass voice and serious recurrent attack of spring fever after Washington Park season opens.” Thompson graduated medical school in 1913 and then won a competitive one year internship ...


Unthank, DeNorval  

Rudy Pearson

physician, community leader, and civil rights activist, was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the son of Albion Unthank, a cook for the railroad company, and Elizabeth (Sherman), a housewife.

Unthank earned a bachelor of arts degree at the University of Michigan and received his medical degree from Howard University. In 1929 he was recruited to Portland Oregon to serve as the one physician for the segregated African American community As with most black citizens across the country African Americans in Oregon were limited to the lowest paying jobs Employers in Portland followed a longstanding unwritten agreement by which only the railroad or hotels hired black workers On the eve of World War II an industrial survey showed that 98 percent of the employed black population worked in some capacity for the Union Pacific Railway or at the railroad terminus near downtown Portland Urban League Report Race ...