Wilcie Elfe

Wilcie Elfe is the earliest known pharmacist.  He graduated from the Avery Normal Institute in Charleston.  Elfe worked at People’s Pharmacy, and his prescription logbook dates back to 1853.

Dr. Percy Lavon Julian

Dr. Percy Lavon Julian

Born in 1899 in Montgomery, Alabama, Dr. Percy Julian was one of the most famous Black scientists. Just as George Washington Carver demonstrated what could be done with the ordinary peanut, Dr. Julian took the soybean, which was until this time just another bean, and extracted from it an ingredient to relieve inflammatory arthritis. Until the late thirties Europe had a monopoly on the production of sterol, the basis of Dr. Julian’s research.

These sterol were extracted from the bile of animals at a cost of several hundreds of dollars a gram. Substituting sterol from the oil of soybean, Dr. Julian reduced the cost of sterol to less than twenty cents a gram, thus making cortisone, a sterol derivative, available to the needy at a reasonable cost. In 1954 he founded Julian Laboratory, Inc.  (more…)

Dr. Patricia E. Bath

Dr. Patricia E. Bath

Dr. Patricia E. Bath is a world-famous ophthalmologist. After excelling in her studies at high school and university and earning plaudits for her investigations in cancer research as early as age sixteen, Dr. Bath embarked on an illustrious medical career.

For over thirty years, Dr. Bath’s research and career objectives have been directed toward the prevention, care and treatment of blindness. Her impressive accomplishments include the invention and subsequent acquisition of a patent for an “apparatus for ablating and removing cataract lenses” named the Laserphaco Probe; introduction of a discipline, community ophthalmology; and co-founding of the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness. (more…)

Dr. Matthew Ricketts

Dr. Matthew Ricketts

Dr. Matthew Oliver Ricketts was the political leader of Omaha’s African Americans at the turn of the 20th century. Ricketts was born to an enslaved couple near New Castle, Kentucky in 1858. He later received a degree from Lincoln Institute at Jefferson City, Missouri, and three years later moved to Omaha.

When he arrived in Omaha in 1880, despite scarce resources, he was admitted to Omaha Medical College, where he worked as a janitor to pay his tuition. Elected to the state legislature for the sessions of 1892 and 1894, he became the first Nebraskan of African descent to sit in that body

Louis (or Lucas) Santomee

Louis was the first university-trained black physician, who after completing studies in Holland, practiced medicine in the colony of New Amsterdam (New York). In 1667 he received a land grant for his services.

 

Mary Eliza Mahoney

Mary Eliza Mahoney

Mary Eliza Mahoney

Mary Eliza Mahoney was the first African American nurse to study and work professionally in the United States. She was also a co-founder of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN) with Adah B. Thoms.

Mahoney was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1845 (her exact birthday is unknown), to Charles and Mary Jane Sterwart Mahoney. She grew up with her parents, a sister and one brother in Boston, Massachusetts where her interest in nursing began as a teenager. (more…)