From James McCune Smith to Vivien Thomas, African American doctors have made a lasting impact on medicine and social justice. Despite the racism and discrimination they faced, these pioneering doctors pushed through and achieved remarkable feats in the medical field. James McCune Smith was the first African American to obtain a medical degree in the United States. He was denied admission to medical schools in the US because of his skin color, but with the financial support of abolitionists, he pursued his dream and attended the University of Glasgow in Scotland.
Smith achieved a great deal in his life, but he was not given the recognition he deserved from his colleagues in the medical community. Vivien Thomas followed in the footsteps of other African Americans who made advances in medicine and helped improve people's lives. In 1837, he became the first black American to receive a medical degree, although he had to enroll in the University of Glasgow School of Medicine due to the racist practices of admission to the US. Dr.
Ernest Everett Just was a biologist and professor at Howard University who studied cell division and fertilization. He was also an advocate for civil rights and protested against segregation in science. In 1939, he was awarded the Spingarn Medal for his achievements in science and civil rights. Charles Richard Drew was a surgeon who led the first Blood Bank of the American Red Cross and created mobile blood donation stations that are now known as blood mobiles.
He also protested against the American Red Cross policy of segregating blood by race and eventually resigned from the organization. Benjamin S. Carson Sr. is a renowned neurosurgeon who was the first person to successfully separate conjoined twins joined at the head.
He is also an advocate for education reform and has written several books on health and education. Dr. Donna Mendes is a vascular surgeon certified by the American Board of Surgery who is dedicated to patient education. She is also a professor at Harvard Medical School and has written several books on vascular surgery. David Kearney McDonogh, MD, (1821-1889) was born enslaved in Louisiana and studied at what is now the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons as part of a 19th century movement to send African Americans freed from slavery to Liberia. These pioneering African American doctors have made an indelible mark on medicine and social justice, despite facing racism and discrimination throughout their careers. They have opened doors for future generations of African American doctors and have helped improve people's lives through their dedication to medicine.