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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 ...

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Elizabeth D. Schafer

physician, was born in Louisburg, North Carolina, the son of the Reverend Joel Branche and Hanna Shaw. He attended the Mary Potter Academy in Oxford, North Carolina. The Branche home was located near this Presbyterian school; George Branche enjoyed playing on the campus, and he acquired his early education there.

After his high school graduation in 1913, Branche enrolled at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, where he participated as an athlete. He graduated in 1917 and served in World War I as a master sergeant. After the armistice he focused on medicine as a career. Branche graduated from the Boston University Medical School in 1923, and he was an intern at the Boston Psychopathic Hospital.

While Branche was in medical school federal officials sought a site to establish a hospital for black veterans African American World War I veterans suffered from treatment at inferior hospitals or were neglected ...

Article

Laura M. Calkins

physician, was born in Raleigh, North Carolina. Little is known about his family or upbringing. Some sources suggest that Brown briefly attended Shaw University, the Baptist-affiliated postsecondary school for blacks founded in Raleigh in 1865; contemporary accounts indicate that Brown graduated from Cleveland High School in Cleveland, Ohio. Brown pursued undergraduate studies at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, earning a BA in June 1888. That fall, Brown enrolled in the medical school of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He earned his MD with a special qualification in surgery in 1891. At his graduation, friends from Ann Arbor's Second Baptist Church presented him with a new medical case, as a token of recognition and thanks for his active involvement in the church's choir and social activities during his student days in Ann Arbor.

Brown soon moved to Jefferson County Alabama where a local examining board certified ...

Article

Joann Buckley and W. Douglas Fisher

National Guard Brigadier General, regimental surgeon, and US Army Captain,was one of seven children born to Levi and Rebecca Gill Dawson in Athens, Georgia.

Dawson's father was a barber and his mother a seamstress, hardworking people who believed in the value of education. Julian and his siblings attended the local public school. He was not the only child to star in his chosen field. His brother William graduated from Fisk University in Nashville and then law school at Northwestern University. William Dawson practiced law in Chicago before ultimately serving in the US House of Representatives from 1943 until his death in 1970.

After his own graduation from Fisk about 1910, Julian graduated from Northwestern University Medical School in 1914. He then entered general practice in Illinois at Jacksonville and then Galesburg.

Dawson joined the Medical Officers Reserve Corps, US Army, in 1916 and ...

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Robert C. Hayden

physician, was born in New York City, the son of George DeGrasse, a prosperous landowner, and Maria Van Surly. After obtaining his early education in both public and private schools in New York City, he entered Oneida Institute in Whitesboro (near Utica), New York in 1840. Oneida was one of the first colleges to admit African Americans, nurturing a strong antislavery stance. In addition to welcoming black students to its campus, the institute invited abolitionists as lecturers and provided both a manual arts and an academic program.

In 1843 DeGrasse attended Aubuk College in Paris, France. Returning to New York City in 1845, he started medical training through an apprenticeship with Dr. Samuel R. Childs. After two years of clinical work and study under Childs, DeGrasse was admitted into the medical studies program at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, in 1847 Finishing his ...

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Raymond Pierre Hylton

physician, medical administrator, and activist, was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Dr. John Lawrence Sullivan Holloman Sr., minister of the Second Baptist Church, and Rosa Victoria Jones, a homemaker. Little is known of his early education, but John L. S. Holloman Jr. attended Virginia Union University, as had his father, graduating in 1940 with a bachelor of science degree. Three years later, he would matriculate at the University of Michigan Medical School, earning his MD in 1943. Entering the armed services in that year, Holloman served in the medical corps for the duration of World War II and was honorably discharged on 2 November 1946 with the rank of captain. He married Charlotte Patricia Wesley, a concert pianist, who was the daughter of the historian and minister Dr. Charles Harris Wesley The couple would go on to have four daughters ...

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Justin David Gifford

forensic psychiatrist, novelist, and filmmaker, was born in Washington, D.C., to Devonia Jefferson, a teacher and playwright, and Bernard Jefferson, a judge. At an early age, Jefferson moved with his family to Los Angeles where he attended integrated public schools. Raised in a family that discouraged him from pursing a career as a writer, Jefferson studied anthropology in college, earning his BA from the University of Southern California in 1961. In 1965 Jefferson earned his MD from Howard University and became a practicing physician in Los Angeles. In 1966, he married a teacher named Melanie L. Moore, with whom he would eventually have four children, Roland Jr., Rodney, Shannon, and Royce. Between 1969 and 1971 he served as a captain and psychiatrist at Lockborne Air Force Base in Columbus Ohio It was during this time that he ...

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Linda Rochell Lane

Hazel W. Johnson broke through convention, custom, and racial and gender barriers in 1979 when she became the first black woman general in the American military. This accomplishment has guaranteed her a place in African American history, women’s history, and military history.

Hazel Johnson was born in 1927 in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Interested in travel and changing her outlook, she entered the army in 1955, five years after completing basic nurses’ training at New York’s Harlem Hospital. She received a direct commission as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Nursing Corps in May 1960. Taking advantage of the educational opportunities provided by the military, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Villanova University, a master’s degree in Nursing Education from Columbia University, and a PhD in Education Administration through Catholic University.

Johnson was chief of the Army Nurse Corps from 1979 to 1983 the ...

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Barbara B. Tomblin

army general, nurse, and educator, was born Hazel Winifred Johnson, the daughter of Clarence L. and Garnett Johnson, in Malvern, Pennsylvania. One of seven children, she grew up in a close-knit family on a farm in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Although she was rejected from the local nursing program because of racial prejudice, Johnson persisted in her childhood dream of becoming a nurse and received a nursing diploma in 1950 from Harlem Hospital School of Nursing in New York City. Following graduation, she worked as a beginning-level staff nurse at Harlem Hospital's emergency ward and in 1953 went to the Veterans Administration Hospital in Philadelphia, quickly becoming the head nurse on a ward.

Two years later Johnson decided to join the army because she said the Army had more variety to offer and more places to go Bombard 65 She was commissioned as a second lieutenant ...

Article

Elizabeth D. Schafer

aerospace surgeon, was born at Fort Washikie, Wyoming, the son of Vance Hunter Marchbanks Sr., an army cavalry captain, and Mattie (maiden name unknown). Marchbanks Jr. was influenced by the military career of his father, who was a veteran of both the Spanish-American War and World War I. A childhood operation inspired Marchbanks's passion for medicine, after which he operated on cherries in his backyard, opening them up, removing the stones, and sewing shut the incision.

Marchbanks encountered discrimination when he enrolled at the University of Arizona in 1927. Not allowed to live in the dormitories or participate in normal student activities, he lived in an off-campus boardinghouse. He ate at the railroad station restaurant, where he was expected to enter through the back door and was harassed; he often found cockroaches in his soup. Marchbanks graduated in 1931 and was accepted at the Howard University ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Robert Fikes

surgeon and medical educator, was born Claude Harold Organ Jr. in Marshall, Texas, the second of three children born to Claude Harold Organ Sr., a postal worker, and Ottolena Pemberton, a schoolteacher. At age sixteen Claude Jr. graduated as valedictorian from Terrell High School in Denison, Texas, and followed his sister to Xavier University, a historically black Catholic school in New Orleans, from which he graduated cum laude in 1948.

Inspired by the achievements of the celebrated physician-inventor Charles Richard Drew and encouraged by two maternal uncles Organ chose to study medicine He was not allowed to enroll at the University of Texas because of his race His application to Creighton University in Omaha Nebraska however was accepted and he became only the second African American to be admitted into its medical school A focused hard driven student with a gift for public speaking Organ ...

Article

Pamela Blackmon

orthodontist, educator, and U.S. Army colonel, was born in Chicago, the son of Eugene Renfroe and Bertha. A 1921 graduate of Austin O. Sexton Grammar School, Renfroe attended James H. Bowen High School, where he was the first African American student in the school's history to achieve the rank of cadet commander in the Reserve Officers Training Corp (ROTC). This was one of many “firsts” that characterized his life.

Renfroe next enrolled at Crane Junior College, then he was admitted to the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) College of Dentistry. While there, he became the first student to tackle a full course load while also working full-time outside of the college. Undaunted by the difficulties of such a feat, he still managed to graduate first in a class of 127 dental students in 1931.

By the time Renfroe joined the Illinois National Guard in ...

Article

Glenn Allen Knoblock

physician and U.S. Navy officer was born in Detroit, Michigan, the youngest child of Turner W. Ross, who was employed as a mail carrier, and homemaker Julia (Jackson) Ross. Both of Ross's parents were from the South originally, with Turner Ross having earned a college degree in English at Lane College, a historically black college in Jackson, Tennessee, while his mother, Julia, attended Clark University in Atlanta and worked as a schoolteacher prior to the birth of her children. From an early age Ross, who was usually called “Jackson” by his friends and family, was interested in becoming a doctor, a goal that became heightened after his sister, Lula Marie Ross, entered the University of Michigan in 1949; she graduated with a bachelor of science degree in nursing in 1953 one of the few African American women at the university at this time to achieve this feat ...

Article

Joann Buckley

was born in Davidson County, Tennessee. There is little known of Henry H. Walker’s family or early life, but his college years were spent at Walden University in Nashville. He then went on to earn his medical degree from Meharry Medical College, one of the nation’s leading historically black colleges in the Jim Crow era. He spent the majority of his adult life in Nashville, Davidson County’s most important city.

After graduation in 1913 Walker served as surgical assistant to John H. Hale at Hale Hospital until 1917 Dr Hale was a notable surgeon who worked studied and traveled to the prestigious Mayo and Crile clinics to advance his knowledge which he passed on to Walker Walker joined the Meharry faculty teaching anatomy as well as minor and orthopedic surgery During these prewar years he married Elizabeth a local music teacher The two of them were active in the ...

Article

Joann Buckley and W. Douglas Fisher

physician, military officer, hospital founder and administrator, and community leader, was born in Wilson, North Carolina to Napoleon Ward, a freeborn man of color and Mittie Roena, originally a slave to David G. W. Ward.

In 1885 Ward was thirteen and illiterate when he left home for Indianapolis. He found work there cleaning stables. He was fortunate to meet Dr. George Hasty, founder of the Physiomedical College of Indiana. Hasty hired him as his driver and servant. According to David Bodenhamer's Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, Hasty actually moved him into his house where he learned to read and write. Ward went on to graduate from Hasty's Physiomedical College of Indiana in 1897 and opened his own medical practice.

By the mid-1890s the Indianapolis Freeman the city s leading African American newspaper described Ward as a very promising young physician of this city a man of ...