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Dr. Josephine English

Community leader and gynecologist Dr. Josephine English was born on December 17, 1920 in Ontario, Virginia to Whittie, Sr. and Jennie English. She grew up in Englewood, New Jersey and received her B.A. degree from New York City’s Hunter College in 1939. English went on to earn her M.A. degree in psychology from New York University. She attended Meharry Medical School in Nashville, Tennessee and while there, became interested in obstetrics and gynecology. English graduated from medical school in 1949 and began working at a hospital in Manhattan.

In 1956, English moved to Brooklyn, and in 1958, she opened a women’s clinic in Bushwick. Over the years, she has delivered thousands of babies, including the daughter of former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown and the six daughters of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz. In 1979, English established the Adelphi Medical Center to provide better medical care to both men and women. She soon added a senior citizens' center. In 1981, she started the Up the Ladder Day Care Center and After School Program and a summer youth camp. Her work continued in 1982 when, in an effort to bring more of the arts to the community, she purchased a deserted church next to the Adelphi Medical Center and converted it into Brooklyn’s Paul Robeson Theater. In 1986, English became the first minority and the first woman to be awarded a license from the New York State Department of Health to develop a free-standing ambulatory surgical center.

Due to budget issues English self-funded many of her programs and has had to continuously fight foreclosure. The Brooklyn community stood behind English, and she has been honored with several awards, including the African Community Contribution Award and a Lucille Mason Rose Community Activist Award. In 1996, Brooklynites formed the Dr. Josephine English Foundation in order to honor English and to carry on her health and welfare initiatives.

Dr. English passed away on December 18, 2011 at the age of 91.

Dr. Josephine English was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 8, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.227

Sex

Female

Interview Date

8/8/2007

Last Name

English

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Schools

Lincoln Early School

New York University

Hunter College

Meharry Medical College

Dwight Morrow High School

First Name

Josephine

Birth City, State, Country

Ontario

HM ID

ENG01

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Virginia

Favorite Vacation Destination

U.S. Virgin Islands

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

12/17/1920

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Death Date

12/18/2011

Short Description

Community leader and gynecologist Dr. Josephine English (1920 - 2011 ) delivered thousands of babies, including the daughter of former U.S. Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown and the six daughters of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz. She established the Adelphi Medical Center and Brooklyn's Paul Robeson Theatre.

Employment

Harlem Hospital Center

Adephi Medical Center

Paul Robeson Theater

Interfaith Medical Center

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Josephine English's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Josephine English lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Josephine English describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Josephine English describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Josephine English remembers her community in Englewood, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Josephine English describes her schooling in Englewood, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Josephine English remembers her early activities

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Josephine English recalls discrimination at Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, New Jersey

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Josephine English recalls developing an interest in psychiatry while in college

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Josephine English remembers Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Josephine English recalls her medical internship at the Harlem Hospital in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Josephine English recalls working at the Harlem Hospital in New York City

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Josephine English talks about New York City's Harlem community

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Josephine English recalls the health problems in the Harlem community

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Josephine English describes her gynecological practice

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Josephine English talks about practicing medicine in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Josephine English describes the Adelphi Medical Center in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Josephine English describes her community service in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Josephine English recalls founding the Paul Robeson Theatre in Brooklyn, New York

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Josephine English describes the history of the Paul Robeson Theatre

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Josephine English describes New York City's black medical community

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Josephine English talks about New York City's black theater community

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Josephine English describes the Dr. Josephine English Foundation, Inc.

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Josephine English reflects upon the importance of the theater

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Josephine English reflects upon her life

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Josephine English talks about the closure of the Adelphi Medical Center

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Josephine English reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Josephine English narrates her photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$2

DAStory

1$8

DATitle
Dr. Josephine English recalls working at the Harlem Hospital in New York City
Dr. Josephine English recalls founding the Paul Robeson Theatre in Brooklyn, New York
Transcript
So we're talking about Harlem Hospital [Harlem Hospital Center, New York, New York] when you arrived there in about 1949?$$Um-hm, 1949 (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) And you were saying that Harlem Hospital at that time, didn't--sort of gained its black doctors one by one.$$Yes, they did.$$Can you just tell us a little bit about that and about where the hospital is going now?$$Yes, it seems impossible that a hospital would just be accepting black physicians. And that's when they had Aubre Maynard [Aubre de Lambert Maynard]. He was one of the first black physicians. He became an outstanding surgeon. They were the first ones to come into Harlem Hospital.$$Can you repeat his name for me?$$Maynard, Aubre Maynard.$$And (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) He became an outstanding surgeon. At the time that Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.] got stabbed, they called him in. He became an outstanding surgeon. And to think that now, that it became totally black and that now it's going to go through another episode which has already started of whites.$$What's happening now with Harlem Hospital?$$Well, they're building, they're building a new hospital, state-of-the-arts and it's gonna be totally white. It's gonna be a top-notch hospital under Columbia Presbyterian [New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, New York].$$Under Columbia Presbyterian?$$Yes.$$And does that have anything to do with the changing, the gentrification of Harlem [New York, New York]?$$That has to do with it. That's the whole thing. If you're gonna change a population, you're gonna change your hospital. And you're not gonna have a second rate hospital that nobody wants to go to. You're gonna have a top hospital.$$And how quality--what was the quality of Harlem Hospital like when you arrived? Was it a top quality hospital (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) When I first came here--$$--at the--in 1950?$$Yeah, its quality was excellent because the whites were just being replaced by the blacks. And they took outstanding black physicians.$$And by what year--just give me an approximate, would you say that Harlem Hospital became an all-black hospital?$$I would say it took about five years.$$So by 1955, 1960, Harlem Hospital was majority black.$$Totally.$$And over the years has the reputation of Harlem Hospital gone down?$$It has gone down.$$And why has that happened?$$Because they took away the good, white physicians and they had only blacks. They took away a lot of money, a lot of the research money, a lot of the money for supplies. You know how to get hospitals to get lower. Everything gets lowered. The staffing is lowered, the scale of employment, of types of employment is lowered. It's very easy. So now, it's going in the other direction because it's gonna be a top-rank hospital again.$$And those doctors--it's not gonna be predominantly black. Those doctors are gonna be (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Oh, they're not gonna be black--$$--pushed out.$$--by no means. And the city is gonna put money in the building. The city is gonna put up a top-notch hospital.$How did you get into the theater business?$$Because I was over there at Fort Greene [Brooklyn, New York] at the building where I had the daycare, and there was a church there owned by the Catholics. And they never helped me, but they saw the work I was doing. So when they got ready to leave, they offered the, the church. And that's where I made the theater.$$And did you have that idea to make a theater already?$$Yes, but I didn't have a facility. And they gave me the--and it was very easy. We started the theater with the pews, and then we built it up and built, built--and we haven't done what we should have done because we've been there twenty-six years. And we still have not renovated the way we should.$$And why not?$$Because we never got any funding or any recognition from the city. What we did, we did on our own, but we need, we needed money. And BAM [Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, New York] is around the corner, and they had a $600 million. They never gave us a penny. But we continued, and now, I think we got--they're going to give us something, but up to this date, we never got anything.$$What kind of theater is the Paul Robeson Theatre [Brooklyn, New York]?$$It's a general community theater. In other words, we do plays, all kinds of plays. We do--people can come in with their play and production and put it on. We help them put it on. We do our own productions. We've done over a hundred different plays since we've been there.$$Can you name a few of the plays that you've done?$$Oh, yes.$$Those that are particularly memorable?$$We do--we've done quite a few of [HistoryMaker] Ntozake Shange's plays. In fact, we just did 'Colored Girls' ['For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide / When The Rainbow Is Enuf,' Ntozake Shange] and we've done the popular black writers. We're one of the few theaters to do great works of black artists.$$Are you an all-black theater?$$Am I what?$$Are you an all-black theater?$$Yes, we are all black. And we hope to remain all black, in terms of management because around us, they're building--they have what, six theaters that they're putting up, the city's putting up. And they're not gearing, geared to the black audience, either financially or otherwise. In other words, they charge a lot of money. BAM, you have to have money to go there, sixty-five dollars, and--we are community. We charge twenty, twenty-five dollars. We're glad to--we do the school kids. We have a lot of school kids who come to the theater. So we brought the theater on the community level. But the community has no money, and they have not fought for the theater.$$Well, what is the importance of theater to the community?$$It's very important because as I said, in terms of the children alone, it's fantastic because we've done the play, 'The Meeting' [Jeff Stetson] which is with Malcolm [Malcolm X]--Martin Luther King [Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.], and the kids love it. And we taught them a lot about black heroes that they otherwise would not know about. It's really a help to the community. We provide good entertain- clean entertainment for them and for the kids, the community, church and so forth.

Dr. Fred Parrott

Foundation executive and gynecologist Dr. Fred D. Parrott was born in Houston, Texas on December 22, 1934. After graduating from Jack Yates High School in 1944, Parrott enrolled at Howard University where he earned his B.S. degree in psychology in 1947. Following the completion of his undergraduate study, Parrott earned his M.S. degree in microbiology at the University of California, Los Angeles. During the early 1950s and during the Korean War, Parrott entered the Medical Service Corps of the United States Army , where he was stationed in Tokyo, Japan for two years while he worked as a bacteriologist. He also opened a tailor shop in Tokyo, fitting servicemen with Hong Kong made shirts. Parrott’s first employment in the medical field was working as the territory manager for Wyeth Pharmaceutical. In 1958, Parrott graduated from Meharry Medical College and became a fellow of the University of Minnesota Medical Center Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Parrott moved to Los Angeles, California upon graduating and did an internship at the Los Angeles County Hospital before becoming a fellow at the University of Minnesota. After completing his fellowship, Parrott returned to Los Angles and began private practice.

In 1986, Parrott founded the "Real Men Cook" Foundation, whose mission was to increase the number of minority health care providers by awarding scholarships to students attending Historically Black College and University medical schools in the United States. In 1994, after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, Parrott founded the Real Men Cook Foundation Center for Early Detection of Prostate Cancer. The Foundation’s goals expanded to increasing awareness and education of prostate cancer and prevention in inner city communities.

Parrott is a member of the American Medical Association, the National Medical Association, the Los Angeles Country Medical Association and the Charles R. Drew Medical Society. He is also a board member of the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology and a founding member of the National Prostate Cancer Coalition. Parrott is the recipient of the Back Heritage Award and President Medal of Honor from Howard University, and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Meharry Medical College.

Dr. Fred D. Parrott was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 7, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.196

Sex

Male

Interview Date

7/7/2007

Last Name

Parrott

Maker Category
Middle Name

D

Schools

Jack Yates High School

Meharry Medical College

University of California, Los Angeles

First Name

Fred

Birth City, State, Country

Houston

HM ID

PAR06

Favorite Season

All Seasons

State

Texas

Favorite Vacation Destination

Maui, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Education, Education And More Education Is The Best Way To Rescue Men From Prostate Cancer.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

12/22/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Health Food

Short Description

Foundation executive and gynecologist Dr. Fred Parrott (1934 - ) founded the Real Men Cook Foundation.

Employment

Wyeth Pharmaceuticals

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:456,16:12412,297:13444,315:16110,359:17056,379:18948,401:19550,410:22302,442:22990,452:24624,466:31296,538:36330,587:40968,602:44535,631:51495,686:65086,893:77870,1005:79086,1014:86920,1074:91764,1109:92516,1118:98903,1191:99407,1200:99785,1211:100289,1220:100667,1227:112492,1373:113257,1379:126636,1573:132484,1683:144845,1876:175300,2187:185563,2282:195864,2420:196300,2425:197063,2433:200682,2484:212354,2589:245110,2914:245838,2923:247230,2940$0,0:5025,133:11025,224:11475,251:28728,508:29196,515:36996,709:37464,716:40038,785:64210,1040:69225,1127:74155,1211:82938,1314:259329,3650:259993,3659:260491,3666:261487,3676:284891,4045:299130,4246:302580,4262
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Fred Parrott's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Fred Parrott lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Fred Parrott lists his parents' names

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Fred Parrott describes mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Fred Parrott remembers his mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Fred Parrott describes his upbringing

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Fred Parrott talks about his mother's relatives

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Fred Parrott describes his grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Fred Parrott remembers his mother's death

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Fred Parrott talks about the role of women in the family

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Fred Parrott describes his father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Fred Parrott describes his decision to attend medical school

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Fred Parrott describes his role as a student representative for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Fred Parrott describes his father's dental practice

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Fred Parrott recalls his fellowship at the University of Minnesota Medical Center

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Fred Parrott talks about his relationship with his father

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Fred Parrott talks about his sister

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Fred Parrott describes his experiences at Jack Yates Senior High School in Houston, Texas

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Fred Parrott remembers Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Fred Parrott recalls his U.S. military service in the Korean War

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Fred Parrott remembers Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Fred Parrott talks about his medical practice

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Fred Parrott describes the Real Men Cook Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Fred Parrott recalls his and his father's prostate cancer diagnoses

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Fred Parrott describes the mission of the Real Men Cook Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Fred Parrott talks about his collaboration with The Links, Inc.

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Fred Parrott describes his plans for the future

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Fred Parrott describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Fred Parrott describes his concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Fred Parrott describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Fred Parrott describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dr. Fred Parrott remembers his religious upbringing

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Dr. Fred Parrott talks about his organizational involvement

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Dr. Fred Parrott reflects upon his life

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

7$1

DATitle
Dr. Fred Parrott describes the Real Men Cook Foundation
Dr. Fred Parrott recalls his and his father's prostate cancer diagnoses
Transcript
But, one of the greatest, one of the greatest activities that we did, a community activity we did, we started the Real Men Cook Foundation for Education [Real Men Cook Foundation for Education Center for Early Detection of Prostate Cancer], and we did that in the '80s [1980s] and we did that for about ten years.$$This is the Real Men Cook--$$Foundation for Education, it was a culinary extravaganza where we would, where we'd get a hundred black men from various, various professions--like Chief Parks [HistoryMaker Bernard Parks], and Chief Williams [Willie L. Williams], actors, and writers, to be chefs. We get no less than a hundred men, and we did that for ten years. And we did that for the, for the, to raise money for the four historically minority medical schools [HBCUs] and that's where we raised over $500,000 for them. And, that's how we established our academic scholarship of excellence and that was a very fun, fun type of event. We did that for ten years. In 1993, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. And our board of directors changed our mission from education to bringing education on erectile dysfunction, on men's issues, on nutrition, on prevention of obesity, on prostate cancer and prostate cancer screening. And, there we, we--that was founded on February 2, 1994 in the chamber of Cecil Murray [HistoryMaker Reverend Cecil L. "Chip" Murray]. Cecil Murray was the faith leader for, for FAME A.M.E. Church [First African Methodist Episcopal Church (FAME), Los Angeles, California]. He was our first honorary, honorary chairperson. The founding members of the Real Men Cook Foundation were Dr. Eila Skinner [Eila C. Skinner] who is associate professor of urology at USC Norris Cancer Center [USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, California], Dr. Donald Skinner [Donald G. Skinner] who is the chairman for professor of department of urology, USC Norris Cancer Center, and Fred D. Parrott, M.D. [HistoryMaker Dr. Fred Parrott], prostate cancer survivor. We started that over twelve years ago. I was diagnosed in 1993, and by May was cured of prostate cancer and I've been free ever since. And they have been with us ever since. Dr. Skinner, she still does the, the regions--the letters out to, to men who have been screened. And since that time, I imagine, I've screened over fifty thousand men, we've touched over a million families, we have, we have personally talked to over five hundred ministers, we've sent out millions and millions of flyers and posters and information on prostate cancer. We have a, we have a outreach office in the inner city. We have a one-on-one consultation model on prostate cancer education--director, Juan Burnson [ph.] is director of that. We have a Latino outreach director, Victor Grimaldo, who speaks and talks and educates the Spanish speaking men on erectile dysfunction, on men's issues of prevention of obesity, prostate cancer and prostate cancer screening.$Okay Dr. Parrott [HistoryMaker Dr. Fred Parrott], 1993 you were diagnosed with prostate cancer, but there was something in your life that was very personal to you in regards to prostate cancer, what was that, sir?$$Well, my father [Fred Parrott, Sr.] died of prostate cancer; he died a horrible death of prostate cancer. He, it's really interesting. He, he came up one Christmas, and then I sent him over to a urologist, Dr. Bledsoe [ph.]. And Dr. Bledsoe called me up that he had did, at that time they did needle biopsies, called me up and said everything was fine. Then he called me back later on, my father was (unclear) to go, my father was so happy, it was clear. He called me up, and he had just got a report back, and he said, "We got bad report, I was given the wrong report. Your father does have prostate cancer." And my father was happy, leaving that day, I said, "Well, Doc, I can't tell him, you gonna have to tell him." So he said, "Okay." So he, he--when he got back home to Houston [Texas], he arranged for a bed at Baylor University [Baylor College of Medicine], a great cancer center in Houston. And, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and it metastasized, and there was no, there was no treatment; you'd give him the estrogen--no treatment as of the date. And, he, he died of--he was in so much pain, I used to hear him moan out. He was a deacon, a very spiritual man, he used to moan out, "Oh God, what have I done, what have I done for me to have this much pain?" A tremendous amount of pain. But I had forgotten that he had prostate cancer. I never got tested until about ten, fifteen years later. So went over with a friend of mine who was having, who was having, having his prostate removed; not because of prostate cancer, but because of hyperplasia. And I sat with him on the operating, with him in the operating room, and I realized that I need to go get tested. When I went to get tested my PSA [prostate specific antigen] was four. At that time, there was a zero to four in milligrams, and the next year, I had four, I said, "I better go get a biopsy." And, I called on my own, "Oh, we have a doctor in the office," the new biopsy had just came about. So he did a biopsy on me in his office. It came back negative, and I said, "I still need to go." So, I called Dr. Donald Skinner [Donald G. Skinner], 'cause I looked around to see who, who the specialist who was doing--the most promising specialist who was doing, doing work in prostate cancer. And, talked to Skinner, one of the people that I was referred to and I called him up, and he referred me to Dr. Eila Skinner [Eila C. Skinner], his associate; no relationship, just had the same name. So, that's how I became--and, she did a biopsy on me and it came back positive, had a--made a score of six, and my PSA rate, and then my PS--. I had a, I had a Real Men Cook--it was in 1996, I had a Real Men Cook for Education [Real Men Cook Foundation for Education Center for Early Detection of Prostate Cancer], coming up and I wanted to do that, do that one before I went in for surgery. By the time I was ready for surgery, my PSA had risen up to about eight or nine, but it was, it was localized, and we did a very radical; it was what they call a nerve-sparing procedure. So, I've been free ever since.$$So you were diagnosed in 1993?$$Um-hm.$$But it wasn't until 1996 that you actually had the actual--?$$No, 1990--1994, we, we founded it. Nineteen ninety-four [1994] we did our--we founded in the office of Cecil Murray [HistoryMaker Reverend Cecil L. "Chip" Murray]. But we never made any, asked for any donations until two or three years later. We did do a prostate cancer education extravaganza with Norris [USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Los Angeles, California] one year. That was in 1996, I think.$$But you get diagnosed in 1993, and you had the surgery in 1993?$$I had surgery in 1994.$$Ninety-four [1994]. Okay, had surgery, okay, you had a radical, you had a radical. Dr. Parrott, in your, now that, here you now--okay, in this part of your life now, you're now a prostate cancer survivor?$$I'm cured of prostate--yes.$$And I know people argue about that term cured and in remission (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Okay. I'm a prostate cancer survivor.