Habari Gani is Swahili for: “What’s the news?”
The NEWS for you is: EMPOWERMENT.
Here’s your EMPOWERMENT LESSON for the week of October 8:
This Week’s Black History Icon: 5 Things To Know About James Derham
In ADDITON TO being the FIRST African American in the U.S. to formally practice medicine, James Derham:
- Was born into slavery in Philadelphia; he would later be sold to a prominent New Orleans doctor, who encouraged Derham to practice medicine
- Worked as a nurse, using the income to purchase his freedom and start a medical practice in New Orleans
- Became an expert in throat diseases and the relationship between climate and disease
- Was fluent in French, Spanish, and English, making him a very popular and oft-requested physician among New Orleans’ Black citizens
- Disappeared in 1802, one year after New Orleans passed regulations that prevented people without an M.D. to practice medicine (while Derham was a skilled surgeon, he did not have a medical degree)
Extra tidbits: Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declarations of Independence, was so impressed with Derham’s success in treating diphtheria patients that he read Derham’s paper on the subject before the College of Physicians in Philadelphia.
No one knows what happened to James Derham after his 1802 disappearance, and there are few clues as to what may have happened to him.