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Pamela C. Edwards

doctor of ophthalmology, inventor, medical researcher, and advocate for social equity in health care, was born in Harlem, New York, the daughter of Rupert and Gladys Bath. A one-time merchant marine and global traveler, her father emigrated from Trinidad, taking a position as the first black motorman for the New York City subways, and her mother, a descendant of African slaves and Cherokee Indians, Bath tells her biographers, “was a housewife who worked as a domestic after we entered middle school. … She scrubbed floors so I could go to medical school” (Davidson). A brilliant student, Bath attended New York's Charles Evans Hughes High School and in 1959 was selected for a National Science Foundation summer program at Yeshiva University. Working on a cancer research team, Bath demonstrated the future potential of her work in science and medicine and was recognized as one of Mademoiselle magazine s Merit Award ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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Paulette Coleman

medical educator, medical school administrator, researcher, and immunologist, was born Anna Cherrie in New Orleans, Louisiana, the daughter of Dr. Ernest Cherrie Sr., a radiologist who practiced family medicine, and Ann Cherrie, a former schoolteacher who became a full-time homemaker after marriage. Cherrie's brother, Ernest Cherrie Jr., became a physician like his father. In spite of her upbringing in the segregated South, Cherrie and her brother were shielded from the harsh realities of racism. Books, classical music, stimulating conversation, and a parade of accomplished visitors like Andrew Young Sr., father of former congressman, U.N. ambassador, and Atlanta mayor Andrew Young, and Ernest Nathan (Dutch) Morial who became the first African American mayor of New Orleans were fixtures of her privileged environment Precocious Cherrie was close to her father who instilled in her the importance of service to others a strong work ...

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Rosalyn Mitchell Patterson

professor of physiology, research physiologist, and medical college administrator, was born Eleanor Lutia Ison, the elder of two daughters born in Dublin, Georgia, to Luther Lincoln Ison, a high school teacher, and Rose Mae Oliver Ison, a teacher and accomplished musician. She attended high schools in Tuscumbia, Alabama, and Quitman, Georgia, before moving with her family to Monroe, Georgia, in the 1940s. Franklin graduated from the Carver High School in 1944 as valedictorian of her class.

At the age of fifteen Franklin entered Spelman College, with the intent to become a doctor. However, under the guidance and tutelage of Dr. Helen T. Albro, chair of the Biology Department, and Dr. Barnett F. Smith professor of biology and Wisconsin graduate she chose to pursue postgraduate study in endocrinology and physiology at the University of Wisconsin Franklin who had played piano and oboe in ...

Article

David A. Shefferman

was born on 24 July 1909 in Santiago de Cuba. He was the last of five children born to Flora Crombet and Gustavo Lachatañeré, who was killed by one of the family’s farmhands shortly after Rómulo’s first birthday. His family names mark his roots within the unique Franco-Creole culture that emerged in eastern Cuba during the 1800s following the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804). Like many in those communities, his paternal grandparents—the Lachataignerais line—adopted Hispanicized spellings, while his maternal lineage included Francisco Adolfo “Flor” Crombet (his grandfather) and other important figures in Cuba’s nineteenth-century independence movements. After earning his high-school degree in 1926, Lachatañeré moved from Santiago to the island’s capital city to begin studies in pharmacology at the University of Havana. He received his degree on 18 November 1929 and began work almost immediately as a laboratory technician in the government-sponsored Institute for Venereal Diseases.

Lachatañeré remained in ...

Article

Morgan Taggart-Hampton and Susan Bell

physician, surgeon, and medical researcher, was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, the youngest daughter of Adella Hunt Logan and Warren Logan, well-respected members of black Alabama society and teachers at the Tuskegee Institute. Her father was one of the first people appointed to the Tuskegee Institute by Booker T. Washington in 1882; Warren Logan was also its treasurer and member of the Board of Trustees. After her retirement from Tuskegee in 1888, her mother, Adella Logan, became an avid suffragist and women's rights activist.

Myra Logan grew up on the Tuskegee campus, attended Tuskegee High School, and graduated with honors in 1923. She was the valedictorian of her class at Atlanta University, where she graduated in 1927. She earned a Master's in Psychology from Columbia University before attending New York Medical College. Encouraged by her brother-in-law, Dr. Eugene Percy Roberts a well ...

Article

Debra A. Varnado

scientist and first black professor and chemistry department head at the U.S. Naval Academy, was one of three sons born in North Little Rock, Arkansas, to Samuel Proctor Massie and Earlee Jacko Massie. His twin brother died soon after birth. Massie was nurtured in an extended family of educators, devout churchgoers, and community and civic leaders. He learned from his father, an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) preacher and biology teacher, to stand up for himself and to minister to others' needs. His maternal grandmother, Josephine Jacko, a full-blooded Choctaw Indian, was born a slave. She instilled in him a sense of right and wrong and during long conversations helped him to recognize his gift for motivating and guiding others. His maternal grandfather, William B. Jacko also a schoolteacher and former superintendent of schools in Jefferson Steps Jefferson County served in the Arkansas State House of Representatives from ...