The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Dr. Keith L. Black

Share on Social Media

Information about Dr. Keith L. Black

Profile image of Dr. Keith L. Black

Profession

Category:
MedicalMakers
Occupation(s):
Neurosurgeon

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Lobster
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
9/13/1957
Birth Location:
Tuskegee, Alabama

Profession

Category:
MedicalMakers
Occupation(s):
Neurosurgeon

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Lobster
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Caribbean
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
9/13/1957
Birth Location:
Tuskegee
See how Dr. Keith L. Black is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

World-renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Keith Black was born in Tuskegee, Alabama, on September 13, 1957. The younger of two sons born to Robert and Lillian Black, he developed at an early age a passion for science. His parents, noting his interests, encouraged him, and when he was in the third grade, his father brought home a cow’s heart for him to dissect. While in eighth grade, the Black family moved to Ohio, and Black began spending time at the labs at Case Western University. In the tenth grade, young Black had developed enough surgical proficiency to perform his first organ transplant, conducted on a dog, and at seventeen, he wrote his first scientific paper on the damage artificial heart valves can do to red blood cells.

After high school, Black enrolled at the University of Michigan, and after only two years of undergraduate study, he was accepted into medical school in 1978. Black earned his M.D. from the University of Michigan in 1981, where he had begun his intense research into the brain and the nature of human consciousness. This search led him down a spiritual path, where he began to study the religions of the world, and ultimately led him to working to cure brain tumors.

By 1987, Black was the head of the Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program at the UCLA Medical Center, where he remained for the next ten years. In 1997, he became the director of the division of neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he remains today, and in 1998, he became the chairman of the department of neurological surgery as well as a professor at the University of California-Irvine. Over the years, his work has found him publishing hundreds of papers over the years, and he discovered a natural body peptide that helps deliver drugs to the brain to fight tumors.

Black has been instrumental in helping to raise money to fight cancer, and his push has been joined by many notables in Hollywood. Black’s crusade against cancer, and his exceptional skill with the scalpel, have led to numerous honors for him, as well, including appearing on the cover of Time Magazine and Newsweek International. Esquire Magazine named him one of the “21 Most Important People of the 21st Century,” and in 2001, he was presented with an Essence Award.

Black is also a devoted family man, despite performing 250 to 300 operations a year (the national average for brain surgeons is around 100). He reserves his weekends for spending time with his wife, fellow doctor Carol Bennett, and their children, Keith and Teal.

See how Dr. Keith L. Black is related to other HistoryMakers
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Keith Black interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Keith Black's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Keith Black describes his father's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Keith Black describes his mother's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Keith Black describes his brother's educational background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Keith Black recalls his childhood environs
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Keith Black describes his early affinity for science
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Keith Black discusses recalls holidays with his family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Keith Black describes social life in Auburn, Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Keith Black recalls his unique school experience
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Keith Black discusses his early influences
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Keith Black discusses his father's occupational travels
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Keith Black discusses his early academic interests
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Keith Black describes his father's race politics
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Keith Black shares stories of his idol, his older brother
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Keith Black recalls his family's changes of residence
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Keith Black remembers school life in Shaker Heights, Ohio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Keith Black discusses his early religious involvement
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Keith Black discusses his early scientific research
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Keith Black explains his interest in the biological sciences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Keith Black discusses his decision to attend the University of Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Keith Black describes his experiences in a six-year joint degree program, part I
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Keith Black discusses his premed/medical school curriculum
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Keith Black describes his experiences in a six-year joint degree program, part II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Keith Black evaluates physician training at the University of Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Keith Black evaluates six-year premed/medical school programs
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Keith Black remembers his medical school mentor
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Keith Black recalls arriving at a medical specialization, neuroscience
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Photo - Keith Black and Bill Cosby at a dinner at Bill Cosby's home, Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Photo - Keith Black with Sidney Poitier and Quincy Jones at Quincy Jones's birthday celebration, California, 2003
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Photo - Keith Black flies with his daughter, Los Angeles, California, ca. 2003
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Photo - Keith Black and Oprah Winfrey at Pauletta and Denzel Washington's home, California, 2002
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Photo - Keith Black and Sidney Poitier at a black tie event, ca. 2000
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Keith Black explains his interest in consciousness
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Keith Black discusses his research on the human brain
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Keith Black describes his passion for life
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Keith Black discusses his research on strokes
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Keith Black lists his internship options following medical school
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Keith Black discusses his early career at the University of Michigan
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Keith Black describes his beginnings as faculty of the University of California, Los Angeles
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Keith Black discusses his marriage to a fellow doctor
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Keith Black explains current research on brain tumors
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Keith Black talks about commonalities in brain tumor patients
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Keith Black explains his reasoning for pursuing research on brain tumors
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Keith Black details his experience at UCLA Medical Center
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Keith Black discusses a brain tumor treatment technique that he's pioneered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Keith Black explains his future plans
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Keith Black talks about a spiritual element to medicine
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Keith Black talks about his hobbies and interests
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Keith Black discusses his family's reaction to his successes
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Keith Black considers his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Photo - Keith Black, ca. 2002
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Photo - Keith Black junior high school photograph, 1969
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Photo - Keith Black with his brother and mother, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1983
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Photo - Keith Black, Los Angeles, California, ca. 1992-1994
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Photo - Keith Black elementary school photo, Auburn, Alabama, 1966
  • Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Photo - Keith Black with his brother, father and mother, Auburn, Alabama, ca. 1967
  • Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Photo - Keith Black with his daughter and wife at Essence Awards ceremony, New York, New York, 2001
  • Tape: 6 Story: 14 - Photo - Keith Black's son and daughter, 2002
  • Tape: 6 Story: 15 - Photo - Keith Black's son and daughter, ca. 1990s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 16 - Photo - Keith Black and unidentified man, Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, ca. 1990
  • Tape: 6 Story: 17 - Photo - Keith Black with unidentified man, Kenya, 1990
  • Tape: 6 Story: 18 - Photo - Keith Black and Nelson Mandela, ca. 2001
  • Tape: 6 Story: 19 - Photo - Neurosphere and neurocells from Keith Black's research, 2003
  • Tape: 6 Story: 20 - Photo - Red blood cell transformation from Keith Black's research, not dated
  • Tape: 6 Story: 21 - Photo - Keith Black on the cover of 'Turning Point' magazine, 1999