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Adams, Numa Pompilius Garfield  

Shari Rudavsky

physician and medical educator, was born in Delaplane, Virginia. Little is known about Adams's family and early life. He attended a country school run by his uncle, Robert Adams. Numa received additional instruction and inspiration from his grandmother Amanda, a midwife who shared with him the secrets of herbal medicine. When Numa Adams was thirteen, his family moved to Steelton, Pennsylvania. Soon Adams taught himself how to read music and purchased a used cornet, which he taught himself how to play.

After graduating from high school in 1905, Adams spent a year as a substitute teacher in Steelton and another year teaching seventh grade in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. These jobs helped him earn sufficient money to pay for his college education, and in 1907 he left Pennsylvania to enter Howard University in Washington D C He soon joined the Lyric Orchestra a dance band composed mostly of ...

Article

Adams-Ender, Clara  

Teri B. Weil

military leader, nurse, educator, and entrepreneur, was born Clara Mae Leach Adams in Willow Springs, North Carolina. Her parents, Otha Leach and Caretha Bell, were sharecroppers, and she was the fourth of ten children. Her parents were staunch supporters of education and made sure that all of their children knew this. Her parents further instilled in the children a sense of self-respect and a belief that with knowledge they could do anything.

As a child growing up in a family of sharecroppers, Adams-Ender realized early that she wanted more out of life. Her perseverance in continuing her education while missing school to work the farm with her family was evident when she graduated second in her class at the age of sixteen. Although she enrolled in a nursing program, her first career choice was to be a lawyer. However, in 1956 her father believed that ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Anthony, Lucinda (Lucie), Bragg  

Charles Rosenberg

was born in Warrenton, North Carolina, the daughter of George Freeman Bragg, a carpenter, and Mary Bragg, who generally did not work outside of the home. Her status as enslaved or free at birth is not known. She had one brother, George Freeman Bragg Jr., later an Episcopal clergyman, and two sisters, Caroline and Della. Some sources suggest an 1870 birthdate for Lucie, but this is unlikely since in 1865 the family moved to Petersburg, Virginia, where her father served as junior warden of the Episcopal Church. Her paternal grandmother, under Virginia law, had been the property of an Episcopal priest in Petersburg, and, toward the end of her life, she helped to found St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church for Negroes.

Lucinda Bragg contracted the first of three marriages on 20 November 1878 to Edward Peters who worked as a hired house servant The couple lived for a time ...

Article

Augusta, Alexander Thomas  

Dalyce Newby

Alexander Thomas Augusta was born a free African American in Norfolk, Virginia, to parents whose names and occupations are unknown. Augusta received his early education from a Bishop Payne, defying a law that forbade African Americans to read or write. He continued to improve his reading skills while working as an apprentice to a barber. His interest in medicine led him to relocate to Baltimore, Maryland, where he studied with private tutors. Eventually, Augusta moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to serve an apprenticeship. Although he was denied entry to the University of Pennsylvania, Augusta caught the attention of Professor William Gibson, who allowed the young man to study in his office.

In January 1847 Augusta married Mary O. Burgoin in Baltimore Maryland They lived in California for three years before returning to the East Coast so that Augusta could pursue a medical degree Denied access ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Baumgardner, Herbert Wycliffe  

Marleny Guzman

psychology professor and journalist, was born in Columbia, South Carolina, to Frances G. Green Baumgardner and her husband James L. Baumgardner (sometimes spelled Bumgardner). Both his parents were teachers at Allen University in Columbia; James taught math and theology. In one source Frances Baumgardner's maiden name is listed as Ramsay. Little is known about Herbert's childhood, but he was the second child, with an older brother, Luther Ovid, and two younger sisters, Thelma and Victoria. The 1910 census suggests that all four children were living with their parents at 2330 Plain Street (later Hampton Street) in Columbia. The home, which the Baumgardners owned outright without a mortgage appears to have been in a “neighborhood of predominately middle and upper income residences” (Trinkley and Hacker, pp. 45–46). As of 1910 two lodgers were also living in the home which would have provided additional income for the family Luther O ...

Article

Beckham, Albert Sidney  

Charles Rosenberg

one of the first African American psychologists, who established at Howard University the first psychology laboratory at any historically black institute of higher education, was born in Camden, South Carolina, to Calvin and Elizabeth James Beckham. Evidence for his date of birth varies. While 21 September 1897 is commonly published, a World War I draft registration records his year of birth as 1893, a second World War I draft registration provides the date 21 August 1897 (it appears he registered again after moving to a new address), and his World War II draft registration card records 21 September 1894. The 1910 census lists his age as sixteen, supporting the 1893 date.

His father owned a retail grocery business in Camden, and his early education was in Presbyterian schools. By 1910 he was the middle of five children; Carrie and Willis were older, Ernest and Arline ...

Article

Beckham, Ruth Winifred Howard  

Tiffany K. Wayne

psychologist, social worker, and educator, was born in Washington, D.C., the eighth and youngest child of Reverend and Mrs. William James Howard. Ruth Howard loved reading as a child and originally considered becoming a librarian but, after three years at Howard University, she transferred to Simmons College in Boston and changed her major to social work.

In the early decades of the twentieth century social work was a new professional field for women and especially for black women Most African American women in the early decades of the twentieth century were confined to jobs as domestic workers or if they entered the professional class as teachers But at Simmons Howard was introduced to new role models and new career possibilities Through a summer internship with the National Urban League she became inspired by the need for community programs for disadvantaged youth including education recreation and job ...

Article

Bessent, Hattie  

Mary Krane Derr

nursing educator and administrator, was born in Jacksonville, Florida. Little information is available about her parents or other aspects of her personal background. When she was nine years old Bessent lost her mother. Her grandmother then raised her, instilling in her a strong belief that self‐giving is the measure of personal worth. After graduating from high school in Jacksonville, Bessent worked as a laboratory and X‐ray technician, an unusual job for a black woman of her time and place but one that led to her groundbreaking career in nursing.

During and after slavery African Americans especially women often served as lay healers and tenders of the sick Starting in the nineteenth century as nursing became a more formally organized profession the color line sliced through it Even though black communities urgently needed more health care black nurses were denied membership in the American Nurses Association ANA educational opportunities and all ...

Article

Brodhead, John Henry  

Charles Rosenberg

teacher and educational psychologist, was born in Washington, New Jersey, the son of Robert and Elizabeth Brodhead. His father, born in New York, was an assistant chef on a railroad cafe car, and his mother, born in Pennsylvania, a laundress at a hotel. He had one older brother, Frank E., and an older sister, Annie. Their father died prior to 1910.

Brodhead graduated from West Chester State Normal School, Pennsylvania, in 1919, and began teaching in the West Chester public schools, boarding with W. J. Williams, his wife, Mary, and infant son, William Jr. During the early 1920s he moved to Philadelphia, beginning a lifelong career in the city's public school system. He married Fleta Marie Jones, a native of Philadelphia, around 1924. Their only child, a daughter named for her mother, was born 12 August 1928.

While teaching ...

Article

Brown, Lucy Manetta Hughes  

Geraldine Rhoades Beckford

physician and educator, was born in Mebanesville, North Carolina, one of eight children. Her parents' names are not known. There are no records of Brown's earlier education, but in 1881 she enrolled at Scotia Seminary in Concord, North Carolina, and graduated in 1885. Four years later she married David Brown, a minister, and the following year entered Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania, founded in 1850 and the first medical school for women in America. When Brown matriculated at the school in 1891, it was one of the best medical colleges in the country.

After graduating from Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1894 Brown returned to North Carolina and practiced medicine in her home state for two years before going to Charleston South Carolina where she became the first female physician of African ancestry in South Carolina A year later a fellow alumna from Woman s ...

Article

Brown, Sara Winifred  

Charles Rosenberg

was born in Winchester, Virginia, the daughter of Charles C. Brown and Mariah Fairfax Brown. Her father was a barber, sufficiently prosperous that her mother did not work outside the home. During the second half of the nineteenth century, this was a point of pride for families of African descent. Men who had had limited legal rights, if free, or no ability to protect their family, if enslaved, sought affirmation in their ability to support the family and keep it together as a unit. In addition, simply maintaining a household was a tremendous amount of labor prior to development of mechanical and electrical devices, or even municipal water systems. During her childhood, Brown’s maternal grandmother, Sarah Fairfax, born in 1809, lived with the family. Like many families in the nineteenth century, they took in boarders to supplement household income.

Little is known about Brown s early years It was ...

Article

Burt, Robert Tecumseh  

Cynthia Staples

was born in Attala County, Mississippi, the third of four children of freed slaves Robert Burt, a cotton farmer, and his wife Sylvia Ann Saunders Burt.

Burt attended public school in Attala County. The family farm was located near Kosciusko, Mississippi, where Burt attended high school. After completing high school, he attended Jackson College in Jackson, Mississippi. Upon graduation he taught in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. In the fall of 1889 Burt entered Walden University in Nashville. He was forced to leave after contracting typhoid fever. Once his health improved, he attended Central Mississippi College before returning to Nashville to complete his A.B. degree at Walden. In 1893 he attended Meharry Medical College in Nashville completing his studies with honors in 1897.

After graduate work at Harvard University between 1899 and 1902, Burt opened his medical practice in McMinnville, Tennessee. In 1902 he relocated to Clarksville Tennessee ...

Article

Canady, Herman George  

SaFiya D. Hoskins

social psychologist, was born Herman George Canady in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, son of Howard T. and Ana Canady. His father was a minister. Herman Canady was a student at Douglass Elementary School and Favor High School in Guthrie, Oklahoma. Upon graduating from high school he enrolled at Northwestern University Theological School in Evanston, Illinois, a suburb north of Chicago. While a student at Northwestern, Canady was awarded a Charles F. Grey Scholarship for his outstanding performance. Canady developed an interest in the behavioral sciences in Theological School and in 1927 graduated from Northwestern University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and a minor in Psychology. The following year he earned a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from Northwestern.

In September 1928 Canady became a member of the faculty at West Virginia Collegiate Institute later called West Virginia State College and chair of the psychology ...

Article

Carnegie, M. Elizabeth  

Caryn E. Neumann

nurse, educator, and leader, was born Mary Elizabeth Lancaster in Baltimore, Maryland, the fourth child of John Oliver Lancaster, a musician, and Adeline Beatrice Swann, a homemaker. In 1918 the Lancasters divorced and M. Elizabeth went to live with her mother's sister in Washington, D.C., where she attended public school. The family had little money and Carnegie worked part-time at a whites-only cafeteria. She graduated from Dunbar High School at age sixteen. Like many girls who were good at a science but who lacked the money to pay for college, Carnegie pursued a diploma in nursing at a hospital-affiliated school. Such schools typically gave students small stipends as well as free tuition in exchange for their labor on hospital wards. Carnegie added two years to her age to get admitted to the all-black Lincoln School of Nursing in New York City. She graduated in 1934.

The hospitals ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Cornely, Paul Bertau  

Edward T. Morman

physician and public health activist, was born in Point-á-Pitre, Guadeloupe, French West Indies, the son of Eleodore Cornely and Adrienne Mellon. When he was three years old, his family moved to Santurce, Puerto Rico. In 1920 the family relocated to Harlem for one year and then moved to Detroit, where his father found work in an auto plant.

After attending Detroit City College, Cornely transferred to the University of Michigan. He earned his AB in 1928 and his MD in 1932 both from the University of Michigan where he was one of 4 blacks in a medical school class of 250 students Unable to get an internship in the North he spent a year at the segregated Lincoln Hospital in Durham North Carolina He intended to continue with specialty training in surgery but effectively barred from a residency he returned to the University of Michigan to study public ...

Article

Daly, Marie Maynard  

Jeannette Elizabeth Brown

biochemist, was born in Corona, Queens, New York, one of three children of Ivan C. Daly and Helen Page. Her father immigrated from the West Indies and received a scholarship from Cornell University to study chemistry; however, he had to drop out because he could not pay his room and board. Forced to abandon his dream, he became a postal worker. Daly's interest in science came from her father's encouragement and the desire to live his dream. Her maternal grandfather had an extensive library, and her mother spent many hours reading to the children. Daly found books about science and scientists, like Paul D. Kruif's Microbe Hunters, most interesting. She graduated from Hunter College High School, a competitive, all-girls public school in Manhattan. Her science teachers encouraged her to study chemistry at the college level.

After graduating Daly attended Queens College in Flushing New York and graduated ...

Article

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 ...