Research and Learn Black History in 2021: Dr. James McCune Smith, The First African-American To Hold A Medical Degree and Run a Pharmacy In The U.S.

Dr. James McCune Smith entered Glasgow University in Scotland and earned three academic degrees, including a doctorate in medicine. When Smith returned to New York, his intellect and energy made him an instrumental figure in an emerging black community.

-The New York African Free School Collection

James McCune Smith 4/18/1813- 11/17/1865

First African American to receive a medical degree. 

Smith entered Glasgow University in Scotland and earned three academic degrees, including a doctorate in medicine after he was unable to attend college in the United States because he was black,

Smith was also an abolitionist, and author in New York City. 

Dr. Smith became the first African American to run a pharmacy in the America.

He worked with Frederick Douglass to establish the National Council of the Colored People. 

Smith debunked the pseudo-scientific subject of Phrenology which was being used to tout the idea of African-American inferiority

Learn more by following the links

The New York Free School Collection- Dr. James McCune Smith

American Physiology Society- Dr. James McCune Smith Debunks Phrenology.

Wikipedia- Dr. James McCune Smith

A Family Conversation: The Khobar Towers Attack (1996)! A Story About Tragedy, Fear of Loss and Love (Part I)

“A Family Conversation” is a storytelling audio series that features weekly discussions between blogging cousins LadyG and Ron Brown on current events along with favorite posts from each other’s blog.

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February is Black History Month, but it is also the month of love.

This post is about tragedy, fear of loss, and ultimately, love shared between two cousins.

All of this takes place against the backdrop of The Khobar Towers attack (1996) in Saudi Arabia. Of course, we start with a bit of comedy about rent, mortgage and the fact that LadyG cannot pronounce the name “Dhahran.” We also joke about the importance of accuracy and the need for documenting historical events like what happened with the Khobar Towers.

Please enjoy our true family story. Part II will be posted next Friday.

You can learn more about the Khobar Towers attack, which resulted in the deaths of 19 U.S. Air Force personnel, HERE.

As an aside, I have heard it said that the Khobar Towers attack, along with the attack of the USS Cole (2000), were precursors to the devastation of 9/11.

Sadly, we had a family friend, Charone Gunn, killed on the Cole.

You can learn more about that HERE.

And please don’t come for me for talking about the projects; chile plenty of my folks came from the projects so LadyG got mad love for “da bricks!” 😂

R.I.P. To those lost at the Khobar Towers

R.I.P. To Charone Gunn

Peace and Love to the survivors!

Research and Learn Black History in 2021: Thomas Jennings Invents and Patents “Dry Scouring,” A Precursor to Current Dry Cleaning Methods

In 1820, (Thomas Jennings) applied for a patent. Under the Patent Act of 1793, an individual had to sign an oath declaring that he was a citizen of the United States. Jennings, being a freeman, was a citizen and so was awarded the patent.

National Inventors Hall of Fame

Thomas Jennings 1/1/1791- 2/11/1859

Unhappy with conventional methods of cleaning, Jennings discovers a more effective method (“dry scouring”) that did not harm clothes.

Jennings emerged as a leader in the abolitionist and civil rights movement in New York City. 

After Jennings’ death, Frederick Douglass stressed that Jennings’ U.S. Patent recognized him as a “citizen of the United States,” a “shocking” designation for many during that time.

Learn more by following the links:

Wikipedia- Thomas L. Jennings’ Biography

Smithsonian Magazine- More on Jennings’ “Dry Scouting” Patent

National Inventors Hall of Fame- Jennings’ Induction

Research and Learn Black History: The Murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson!

Courtesy of The Time Tunnel.
In this post, Ron Brown, masterfully details one of the UGLY sides of black history.
It’s very tempting to gloss over this portion of our history, but that does a huge disservice to all of the sacrifices that were made to hold our country up to its democratic ideal.
Thanks for this awesome piece Ron, again, it’s hard to look at but we MUST.
Love always,
LadyG

The Time Tunnel

THE ATTACK

On the evening of February 18, 1965, a group of civil rights activists gathered at the Zion United Methodist Church in Marion, Alabama for a night march in support of James Orange, the recently arrested field secretary for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

27 year-old, Jimmie Lee Jackson–an Army veteran and church Deacon–his eighty-two year old grandfather Cager Lee, and his mother Viola participated in the protest. After the meeting at the church, state troopers–who knew of the protest thanks to surveillance by the FBI–attacked the protesters.

“I GOT HIM!”

Wandering through crowd, Jimmie finds his grandfather, and the two seek refuge in the nearby Mack’s Café. Inside, Viola Jackson was attacked by two state troopers and fell to the ground. While Jackson was rescuing his mother, a trooper grabbed him and shoved him into a cigarette machine and shot him twice in the stomach.

A witness to…

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Research and Learn Black History in 2021: Henrietta Lacks Unknowingly Contributed “Incredible” DNA Cells That Are Still Being Used in Critical Medical Research Today

Today, these incredible cells— nicknamed “HeLa” cells, from the first two letters of her first and last names — are used to study the effects of toxins, drugs, hormones and viruses on the growth of cancer cells without experimenting on humans. They have been used to test the effects of radiation and poisons, to study the human genome, to learn more about how viruses work, and played a crucial role in the development of the polio vaccine.

-Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Henrietta Lacks  (neé Loretta Pleasant) 8/1/1920- 10/4/1951

  • Diagnosed with cervical cancer after giving birth to her fifth child
  • Lacks’ cancer cells were used, without her knowledge, to create the HeLa cell line which is still used in medical research today.
  • (2013) Researchers published DNA sequencing information of a strain of HeLa cells, which prompted Henrietta Lacks’ family to raise privacy concerns.
  • Lacks’ family is now involved in access and control of HeLa DNA via committee; even still, knowledge and use of her genetic information (and cells) continues to be an critical issue relative to patient privacy and rights.

Learn more by following the links

Johns Hopkins- Henrietta Lacks’ Legacy

Nature – Henrietta Lacks and racial inequities in U.S. research and healthcare

Henrietta Lacks’ biography

Research and Learn Black History in 2021: Pioneering Chemist, Dr. Percy Julian, Discovers Method to Synthesize Hormones From Plant Sources

A steroid chemist and an entrepreneur, Percy Julian ingeniously figured out how to synthesize important medicinal compounds from abundant plant sources, making them more affordable to mass-produce.

-Science History Institute

Dr. Percy Lavon Julian 4/11/1899-4/19/1975

  • Grandson of a slave
  • Earned his PhD: Studied at University of Vienna, Harvard University, De Pauw University
  • Dr. Julian’s synthesis methods (using plant sources like soybeans) have been used to produce hormones to treat rhematoid arthritis and to prevent miscarriage.
  • Founded Julian Laboratories which he later sold to Smith, Kline and French.  Smith, Kline and French ultimately, via several mergers and aquisitions, became GlaxoSmithKline

Learn more by following these links

Biography- Dr. Percy Julian Biography

Science history- Dr. Percy Julian’s Scientific Contributions

Research and Learn Black History in 2021: Jo Ann Robinson, The Mastermind Behind The Montgomery Bus Boycott

Women’s leadership was no less important to the development of the Montgomery Bus Boycott than was the male and minister-dominated leadership.

-Jo Ann Robinson

Jo Ann Robinson 4/17/1912 – 8/29/92

  • Educator who studied at Fort Valley State University, Atlanta University and Columbia University
  • Organized the Montgomery Bus Boycott after the arrest of Rosa Parks in 1955.  Robinson, had previously began work to desegregate Montgomery’s city bus system in 1950 after having been verbally attacked by a bus driver for sitting in the “Whites Only” section 
  • Targeted, arrested and harassed by police for her leadership role in the bus boycott
  • Published a memoir (1987) entitled The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It 

Learn more by following the links

National Museum of African American History & Culture-Jo Ann Robinson’s Heroism 

Biography website- Bio-Jo Ann Robinson

Research and Learn Black History in 2021: NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson

In 1962, as NASA prepared for the orbital mission of John Glenn, (Katherine)Johnson was called upon to do the work that she would become most known for. The complexity of the orbital flight had required the construction of a worldwide communications network, linking tracking stations around the world to IBM computers in Washington, Cape Canaveral in Florida, and Bermuda. The computers had been programmed with the orbital equations that would control the trajectory of the capsule in Glenn’s Friendship 7 mission from liftoff to splashdown, but the astronauts were wary of putting their lives in the care of the electronic calculating machines, which were prone to hiccups and blackouts. As a part of the preflight checklist, Glenn asked engineers to “get the girl”—Johnson—to run the same numbers through the same equations that had been programmed into the computer, but by hand, on her desktop mechanical calculating machine.  “If she says they’re good,’” Katherine Johnson remembers the astronaut saying, “then I’m ready to go.” Glenn’s flight was a success, and marked a turning point in the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union in space.

Source: NASA website (See below)

Katherine Johnson  8/26/1918 – 2/24/2020

  • Degrees in Mathematics and French
  • Mentored by fellow African American, W.W. Schieffelin Claytor, PhD in Mathematics
  • Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama
  • NASA research facility named in her honor
  • Played by Taraji P. Henson in the movie Hidden Figures, based a book by the same name, written by Margot Lee Shetterly

Learn more by following the links:

NASA- Bio for Katherine Johnson

NASA- Research Facility

Research and Learn Black History in 2021: Dr. Howard Thurman

An educational series on great Black Americans during 2021 Black History Month.

“Don’t ask what the world needs. 

Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. 

Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

― Howard Thurman

Dr. Howard Thurman (November 18, 1899 – April 10, 1981)

  • Influencer of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Dean (Howard University)
  • Deep spiritual thinker, philosopher, educator and theologian
  • Influenced by Mohandas Gandhi

Learn more by following the links:

pbs

Goodreads

Enjoy this video highlighting some of his most famous quotes.

Dear World, You’re Welcome…

From Georgia!

A great BIG UP to my fellow Georgians who did the damn thang on January 5, 2021–and before!

The insurrection that occurred the next day at the United States Capitol makes Georgia’s stance a thousand times more important!

So, with that said, thank us now or thank us later…

Either way…

You’re welcome!

With love,

LadyG

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