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SEA Currents June 20th, 2019
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Feb

12

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A Look Back: African Americans in Medical History

Posted by on February 12th, 2019 Posted in: All Posts, Exhibits


Through its Exhibition Program, the National Library of Medicine provides traveling banners free of charge to public, university, and medical libraries, as well as cultural centers across the country. These exhibitions, along with their corresponding online resources, seek to stimulate people’s enthusiasm for history and encourage visitors of all ages to learn more about themselves and their communities.

In celebration of Black History Month, we take a closer look at three traveling exhibitions on display during February that explore the role of African Americans in medicine throughout our history.

Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine

Contraband who served with the 13th Massachusetts Infantry

Contraband who served with the 13th Massachusetts Infantry
c. 1863-1865

Many histories have been written about medical care during the American Civil War, but the participation and contributions of African Americans as nurses, surgeons and hospital workers have often been overlooked. Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine looks at the men and women who served as surgeons and nurses and how their work as medical providers challenged the prescribed notions of race and gender.

Educational Materials: Binding Wounds and Pushing Boundaries provides free instructional resources for educators in K-12 as well as in higher education institutions. Lesson plans and activities include an in-depth study of African American medical personnel in the U.S. Civil War, course material on understanding medical practice in the mid-nineteenth century and medical challenges generated by the war, review of primary source documents, and suggestions for additional readings and resources.

Visiting the Exhibit: The Binding Wounds exhibit is currently being hosted by two libraries –

  • University of Colorado Boulder Libraries – Boulder, Colorado
  • Virginia Commonwealth University, Tompkins-McCaw Library – Richmond, Virginia

Catch the exhibit in both locations now through March 16!

Fire and Freedom: Food and Enslavement in Early America

 

National Library of Medicine traveling exhibit Fire and Freedom: Food and Enslavement in Early America

Fire and Freedom: Food and Enslavement in Early America looks at the Chesapeake region, where European settlers relied upon indentured servants, Native Americans, and African slave labor for life-saving knowledge of farming and food acquisition, and to gain economic prosperity. By examining the labor of slaves and food practices of the time, including those at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, the exhibition explores how power was exchanged between and among different peoples, races, genders, and classes during the early colonial era.

Educational Materials: Fire and Freedom: Food and Enslavement in Early America offers free classroom resources for K-12 and undergraduate educators and their students. These resources serve as templates for examining foodways with the historical context of European settlement and slavery during early America. Lesson plans and online materials include recipes, primary source documents, suggested readings, and a digital gallery featuring historical images from the National Library of Medicine.

Visiting the Exhibit: The Fire and Freedom exhibit is currently being hosted by two libraries –

  • Tarrant County College, Judith J. Carrier Library – Arlington, Texas
  • Samuel Merritt University, John A. Graziano Memorial Library – Oakland, California

Catch the exhibit in both locations now through March 2!

Opening Doors: Contemporary African American Academic Surgeons

Surgeons perform a hernia operation at Provident Hospital, 1941.

Surgeons perform a hernia operation at Provident Hospital, 1941.

African Americans have always practiced medicine, whether as physicians, healers, midwives, or “root doctors.” Early black pioneer physicians not only became skilled practitioners, they became trailblazers and educators paving the way for future physicians, surgeons, and nurses, and opening doors to better health care for the African American community. Opening Doors: Contemporary African American Academic Surgeons recognizes the achievements of these pioneers by examining this long tradition and highlighting contemporary surgeons and educators who exemplify excellence in their fields.

Educational Materials: Opening Doors: Contemporary African American Academic Surgeons offers several free online learning experiences that can be integrated into the classroom setting. Educators and their students can explore resources and primary source documents related to the history of early medical education, pioneers in academic surgery, and the new frontiers of contemporary surgeons. Opening Doors also features a children’s guide for younger students to learn about African American surgeons throughout history.

Visiting the Exhibit: The Opening Doors exhibit is currently being hosted by two libraries –  

  • Palo Alto College, Ozuna Library – San Antonio, Texas
  • Pohick Regional Library – Burke, Virginia

Catch the exhibit in both locations now through March 2!

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