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Andrews, Ludie  

Shari Rudavsky

nursing educator and administrator, was born in Milledgeville, Georgia, the daughter of a poor family about whom nothing is known. In 1901 Andrews applied to Spelman College's MacVicar Hospital School of Nursing. On her application, she asked for financial assistance, explaining that her family could not help her pay. Her mother had a large family to support and “an old flicted husband,” who was not Andrews's father. Andrews also said that she had been married but did not currently live with her husband and expected no support from him. Letters praising Andrews and talking about her “good moral character” that came from the pillars of Milledgeville society proved instrumental in securing Andrews's admission.

In 1906 Andrews received her diploma from Spelman and set upon her life s work During her training she resolved that I wanted to work for my people how or where this was to be done ...


Comer, James  

George White

psychiatrist, educational reformer, and author. Born to working-class parents during the Great Depression, James Pierpont Comer became a world-renowned child psychiatrist. He spent his childhood in East Chicago, Indiana, but then traveled to the East Coast and did work at some of America's most prestigious academic institutions. By the early twenty-first century he stood as an intellectual pioneer and an advocate for disadvantaged children.

Comer's parents lacked extensive formal education, and both worked outside the home—his father as a laborer at a steel mill and his mother as a domestic. Yet they created an environment that cultivated self-esteem, confidence, and high academic achievement for James and his siblings. After completing high school in 1952, Comer attended and graduated from Indiana University, but his negative experiences in Bloomington encouraged him to attend medical school elsewhere. He earned his MD in 1960 from Howard University and a ...


Howe, Samuel Gridley  

Jessica M. Parr

Samuel Gridley Howe was born to a prominent Boston family. His father, Joseph Neals Howe, owned a rope-manufacturing company in this thriving port city. His mother, Patty Gridley, was renowned for her beauty. Howe entered the Boston Latin School at the age of eleven, graduating in 1818. At the age of seventeen he entered Brown University, the only one of the three Howe sons to attend college, owing to a decline in the family's financial situation.

Following Howe's graduation from Brown in 1821, he matriculated at the Harvard Medical School. After he completed his medical studies in 1824, his restless nature and democratic sensibilities led him to join the Greek army as a surgeon and soldier during the Greek war of independence. Howe returned to Boston in 1831, where he met a friend from his undergraduate days named John Dix Fisher. In 1829 Fisher ...


Jones, Robert Emmett, Sr.  

Elvatrice Parker Belsches

physician, hospital founder, educator, organizational leader, and civil rights activist, was born in Greensboro, Alabama, the only son of Alice Royal, a mixed-race woman, and an unidentified white father. Jones attended private school and later graduated from the Tullibody Academy for blacks at Greensboro in 1876. This well-respected school was founded and run by William Burns Paterson, who was later appointed principal of the Lincoln Normal School, the forerunner of Alabama State University.

Because Jones's youth precluded his acceptance into several medical schools, he taught for a couple of years before entering the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor's medical school in 1878 (The Richmond Planet, 5 Jan. 1895). Founded in 1850, the medical school had graduated its first black student, Dr. William Henry Fitzbutler, in 1872 Fitzbutler would gain renown by cofounding the Louisville National ...


Lattimore, John Aaron Cicero  

Eugene H. Conner

physician and civil rights activist, was born near Shelby, Cleveland County, North Carolina, the son of John Carpenter Lattimore and Marcella Hambrick, former slaves and farmers. Lattimore graduated from Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina, with an AB in 1897. He then attended Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, receiving his MD in 1901. With a fellow classmate, H. B. Beck, as a partner, he began the general practice of medicine in Louisville, Kentucky. After considerable effort, his practice grew. In 1928 he married Naomi Anthony of Louisville; they had no children.

To provide better care for his patients Lattimore established the Lattimore Clinic in Louisville This effort marked the beginning of a professional lifetime devoted to improving medical care for the black community and presaged similar efforts for improving public health measures hospital care and educational opportunities for blacks Lattimore served in the Louisville ...


Long, Howard Hale  

Stephen Truhon

educator and psychologist, was born in News Ferry, Virginia, to Annie Vassar and Thomas Long. During his childhood, his family moved to Richmond, where he attended and graduated from Wayland Academy, then part of Virginia Union University. He continued his education at Virginia Union University and transferred to Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he received Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Education degrees in 1915. He attended Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, as a University Fellow, where he received an M.A. in Psychology in 1916 under the direction of G. Stanley Hall, considered one of the founders of American psychology. Long was arguably the first black to receive a postgraduate degree in psychology in the United States.

He was accepted in the doctoral program in psychology at Clark University, which included a scholarship, but did not attend. He taught psychology at Howard University from 1916 ...


Shadd, Furman Jeremiah  

Dalyce Newby

physician and educator, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Absalom Shadd, a prosperous restaurateur, and Eliza Brockett. About 1855 Absalom Shadd sold his business and, following his brother Abraham Doras Shadd's example, relocated his family to Chatham, Ontario, where he took up farming. Following Absalom's untimely death, the family returned to the United States.

In August 1867 Shadd began a thirty-eight-year affiliation as student, educator, and administrator with Howard University and its associated institutions. He first enrolled in the preparatory course at the model school administered by the university. Graduating from the model school, he became one of Howard's first university students. He earned his BS in 1875, followed by his MS in 1878 and his MD in 1881. He was selected valedictorian of both his undergraduate and his medical convocations.

While pursuing his own education, Shadd served from 1874 through 1878 ...


Simmons, Ellamae  

Gerald S. Henig

nurse, physician, and educational activist, was born in Mount Vernon, Ohio, the youngest of four children of Augustus “Gus” Simmons, a farmer, and Ella Sophia Cooper Simmons, a practical nurse. As part of the fledgling black middle class of early twentieth century America, Gus and Ella Simmons provided a financially secure and happy environment for their children. Looking back, Dr. Simmons had only pleasant memories of her early years, memories of extended family gatherings, learning to play the piano, friendships, hay rides, and dating one of the few black students at the high school (African Americans made up only 2 percent of Mount Vernon's population and 3 percent statewide).

An outstanding student with a special talent for the sciences, Simmons decided to follow in her mother's footsteps and pursue a career in nursing. In 1936 after graduating in the top 3 percent of her ...