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Vera Ricketts

Pharmacist and civic leader Vera Ricketts was born on October 20, 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana to Sarah Chilton Phelps and Robert Phelps, Sr. There, Ricketts attended Hazel Hart Hendricks School 37 and Crispus Attucks High School where she graduated in 1941. She later went on to attend Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and graduated with her B.S. degree in pharmacology in 1948. As an undergraduate student, she was an active member of the Congress of Racial Equality.

Ricketts began her career as a pharmacist at Howard University in Washington, D.C. In 1958, Ricketts became the first female African American pharmacist at Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. During this period, she also helped establish the pharmacy at Lincoln Hospital in Durham, where she trained nurse practitioners in pharmacology. Ricketts eventually returned with her husband, William Newton Ricketts, to Washington, D.C., where she worked at the District of Columbia General Hospital pharmacy. In 1960, she and her husband moved to Los Angeles, California, where she worked as an administrator at his medical practice. An active community leader, Ricketts advocated for the creation of the Martin Luther King Jr. General Hospital in Los Angeles’ South Central neighborhood. Ricketts went on to serve as the president of the Auxiliary to the National Medical Association from 1981 to 1982.

In addition to her professional career, Ricketts was also active in other community organizations in the Los Angeles area. In 1979, Ricketts founded the Inglewood Pacific Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, and she served as its chapter president from 1983 to 1985. Ricketts also founded the Theta Mu Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Through her membership in the sorority, she volunteered on the board of the Jenesse Center, Inc., a shelter for battered women and children in Los Angeles. In 2017, Ricketts and her husband, William Newton Ricketts, received recognition for their thirty plus years of humanitarian work in Jamaica.

Ricketts and her husband have four daughters: Verlie Ricketts Lockings, Renee Ricketts, Victoria Ricketts Wilson and Wendy Ricketts Greene.

Vera Ricketts was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 23, 2017.

Accession Number

A2017.143

Sex

Female

Interview Date

07/23/2017

Last Name

Ricketts

Maker Category
Schools

Hazel Hart Hendricks School 37

Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School

Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences

First Name

Vera

Birth City, State, Country

Indianapolis

HM ID

RIC21

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Indiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Jamaica

Favorite Quote

Give something back to the community.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

California

Birth Date

10/20/1922

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Los Angeles

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Oats, Raisins and Dates

Short Description

Pharmacist and civic leader Vera Ricketts (1922 - ) worked at Howard University Hospital and Duke University Hospital. She also served as president of the Inglewood Pacific Chapter of The Links, Incorporated and was a founding member of the graduate chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

Employment

Howard University Hospital; Freedmen's Hospital

Duke University Hospital

D.C. General Hospital

Favorite Color

Yellow

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Vera Ricketts' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Vera Ricketts lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Vera Ricketts describes her father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Vera Ricketts describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Vera Ricketts talks about her parents' move from Clarksville, Tennessee to Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Vera Ricketts describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Vera Ricketts describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Vera Ricketts recalls her early interest in science

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Vera Ricketts remembers attending Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Vera Ricketts talks about her early racial experiences

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Vera Ricketts remembers the everyday amenities of her childhood

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Vera Ricketts remembers her early career aspirations

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Vera Ricketts recalls attending the Indianapolis College of Pharmacy in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Vera Ricketts remembers her challenges at the Indianapolis College of Pharmacy

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Vera Ricketts remembers graduating from Indianapolis College of Pharmacy in Indianapolis, Indiana

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Vera Ricketts describes her responsibilities as a pharmacist

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Vera Ricketts recalls being rejected for a job in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Vera Ricketts remembers meeting her husband, William Newton Ricketts

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Vera Ricketts recalls working at Howard University

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Vera Ricketts talks about the birth of her daughters

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Vera Ricketts recalls her coworkers' support at Duke University Hospital

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Vera Ricketts remembers returning to Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Vera Ricketts recalls joining Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Vera Ricketts remembers segregation in the 1960s

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Vera Ricketts recalls her work at Lincoln Hospital in Durham, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Vera Ricketts remembers moving to District of Columbia General Hospital in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Vera Ricketts describes the process for manufacturing saline solutions

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Vera Ricketts remembers moving to Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Vera Ricketts talks about her administration work at her husband's medical practice

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Vera Ricketts remembers advocating for the Martin Luther King Jr. General Hospital in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Vera Ricketts talks about her organizational involvement in Los Angeles, California

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Vera Ricketts remembers the founding of the Los Angeles chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Vera Ricketts recalls establishing a partnership between The Links, Incorporated and Jamaica, pt. 1

Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Vera Ricketts recalls establishing a partnership between The Links, Incorporated and Jamaica, pt. 2

Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Vera Ricketts remembers co-chartering the Inglewood Pacific Chapter of The Links, Incorporated

Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Vera Ricketts talks about her public service activities

Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Vera Ricketts describes the role of friendship in The Links, Incorporated

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Vera Ricketts narrates her photographs

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Vera Ricketts describes her role as president of the Auxiliary to the National Medical Association

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Vera Ricketts describes her daughter's careers

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Vera Ricketts talks about her grandchildren

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Vera Ricketts reflects upon the election of President Barack Obama

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Vera Ricketts describes her concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Vera Ricketts reflects upon her legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Vera Ricketts shares her advice to aspiring pharmacists

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Vera Ricketts describes how she would like to be remembered

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Vera Ricketts reflects upon her life

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Vera Ricketts talks about her marriage to William Newton Ricketts

George Langford

Biologist and academic administrator George M. Langford was born on August 26, 1944 in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina to Lillie and Maynard Langford. Langford excelled at math in high school and was fascinated by the shapes and structures found under the microscope. He studied biology at Fayetteville State University earning his B.S. degree in 1966. Despite the lack of laboratory facilities, Langford had good mentors who persuaded him to attend graduate school. He earned his M.S. degree in 1969 and his Ph.D. degree in 1971, both in cell biology from the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). He finished his postdoctoral training in 1973 from the cell biology program at the University of Pennsylvania as a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Fellow.

In 1973, Langford joined the faculty of the University of Massachusetts as a professor of cell biology and conducted research at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Massachusetts in 1976. He continued his career in academia, teaching at Howard University in 1977 and joining the faculty of University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1979. He was promoted to a full professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 1988. Langford’s research focused on the nerves of invertebrates as well as cellular motility. He was honored with an appointment to the National Science Foundation (NSF) where he served as director of cell biology from 1988 to 1989. In 1991, Langford joined the faculty of Dartmouth College as the Ernest Everett Just Professor of Natural Sciences and a professor of biological sciences where he remained until 2005. Between 2005 and 2008, Langford was employed at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst as dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics and Distinguished Professor of Biology. In 2008, he was engaged by Syracuse University as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Langford holds memberships in many nationally prominent professional societies including the American Society for Cell Biology, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Corporation of the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA and the Society of Sigma Xi. He served on the National Science Board (NSB) from 1998 to 2004, where he served as chair of the Education and Human Resources Committee and the Vannevar Bush Award Committee. Langford has been recognized numerous times for his work including the Illinois Institute of Technology Professional Achievement Award and the American Society for Cell Biology Ernest Everett Just Lectureship Award. Langford received an honorary Doctorate from Beloit College in 2003. He is married to Sylvia Langford and they have three children.

George Langford was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 6, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.165

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/6/2012

Last Name

Langford

Middle Name

Malcolm

Schools

Potecasi Graded School

W.S. Creecy High School

Fayetteville State University

Illinois Institute of Technology

University of Pennsylvania

Beloit College

Woodland Elementary

First Name

George

Birth City, State, Country

Halifax

HM ID

LAN08

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

North Carolina

Favorite Vacation Destination

Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Favorite Quote

C'est la vie.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

8/26/1944

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Syracuse

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Apples

Short Description

Cell biologist and academic administrator George Langford (1944 - ) is an expert on cell motility and served as a dean at University of Massachusetts, Amherst and Syracuse University

Employment

Syracuse University

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Dartmouth College

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Howard University

University of Massachusetts, Boston

University of Pennsylvania

National Science Foundation (NSF)

Marine Biological Laboratory

Argonne National Laboratory

Favorite Color

Red

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of George Langford's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - George Langford lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - George Langford describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - George Langford talks about his maternal grandparents

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - George Langford talks about his mother's growing up in Potecasi, North Carolina

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - George Langford describes his mother's remarkable skills as a farmer and a homemaker

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - George Langford describes his father's family background - part one

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - George Langford describes his father's family background - part two

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - George Langford talks about his father attending high school, and his paternal family's reputation as merchants and tradespeople

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - George Langford discusses the history and demographics of Potecasi, North Carolina, and talks about Nat Turner and the slave revolt of 1831

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - George Langford describes the segregated town of Potecasi, North Carolina, while he was growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - George Langford talks about his father's family receiving an education

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - George Langford talks about his parents getting married in the early 1920s

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - George Langford talks about segregation in North Carolina, and his father's role in mediating peace during inter-racial conflicts

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - George Langford describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - George Langford talks about his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - George Langford describes his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - George Langford describes his childhood memories on his family's farm in Potecasi, North Carolina, and talks about the home where he grew up

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - George Langford describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Potecasi, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - George Langford describes his experience as the youngest of nine children

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - George Langford describes his interests while growing up

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - George Langford talks about his father's physical strength and his long life

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - George Langford talks about his access to African American magazines and newspapers while growing up in Potecasi, North Carolina

Tape: 2 Story: 14 - George Langford talks about all the schools that he attended, and describes his elementary school experience at Potecasi Graded School

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - George Langford describes his experience in elementary school

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - George Langford talks about the high elementary school drop-out rate while he was in school

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - George Langford describes his involvement in Church as a child, and his recollections of the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - George Langford describes his experience during segregation in Potecasi, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - George Langford describes his experience at W.S. Creecy High School, his interest in science, and the mentorship that he received from his teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - George Langford talks about his interest in the physical sciences and his decision to major in biology in college

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - George Langford talks about his academic performance and his involvement in extracurricular activities at W.S. Creecy High School

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - George Langford talks about his mentors at W.S. Creecy High School, and his decision to pursue a college education at Fayetteville State University

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - George Langford describes his experience at Fayetteville State University

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - George Langford talks about his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - George Langford describes how the student government at Fayetteville State University facilitated the integration of Fayetteville in the 1960s-part one

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - George Langford describes how the student government at Fayetteville State University facilitated the integration of Fayetteville in the 1960s-part two

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - George Langford talks about his mentors, Joseph Knuckles and F. Roy Hunter, at Fayetteville State University

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - George Langford describes the strong liberal arts and education programs at Fayetteville State University, and his involvement in music while there

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - George Langford describes his first winter in Chicago, and talks about the blizzard of 1967

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - George Langford talks about his experience in Chicago, and how he met his wife, Sylvia

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - George Langford talks about his doctoral advisor, William Danforth

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - George Langford talks about his interest in cell biology, and his mentors, Teru Hayashi and Jean Clark Dan, at the Illinois Institute of Technology

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - George Langford talks about the unrest in Chicago, following Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination in 1968

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - George Langford talks about other black students at the Illinois Institute of Technology while he was a student there in the late 1960s and early 1970s

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - George Langford describes his Ph.D. dissertation on the growth of the unicellular protozoa of genus Euglena, in the absence of oxygen

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - George Langford talks about the role of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB) in shaping his research career

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - George Langford describes his introduction to cell biology and live-cell imaging, and his experience at the University of Pennsylvania

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - George Langford describes his postdoctoral studies on the mechanism of motility in Pyrsonympha, the native protozoa found in termite guts

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - George Langford talks about his experience at the University of Massachusetts in Boston and his reasons for leaving there

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - George Langford describes his rich scientific experience at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), and its influence on his research career

Tape: 5 Story: 9 - George Langford talks about the life of Ernest Everett Just, his pioneering science, and his tenure at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory

Tape: 5 Story: 10 - George Langford talks about the similarities between his scientific career and that of Ernest Everett Just

Tape: 5 Story: 11 - George Langford describes being an African American researcher at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1970s, and current racial trends in science

Tape: 5 Story: 12 - George Langford talks about his appointment at Howard University and his subsequent transition to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - George Langford describes the racial challenges at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - George Langford talks about segregation at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the surrounding community in the 1980s

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - George Langford describes his experience as the chairman of the Minority Affairs Committee of the American Society for Cell Biology (ASCB)

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - George Langford describes his experience as the director of the cell biology program at the National Science Foundation (NSF)

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - George Langford talks about his appointment as the Ernest Everett Just Professor of Natural Sciences at Dartmouth College in 1991

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - George Langford describes the liberal arts style of education at Dartmouth College

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - George Langford describes his efforts to increase the retention of African American students in science at Dartmouth College

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - George Langford talks about the field of social science, and his efforts to educate his colleagues and students about the concept of "white privilege"

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - George Langford describes his groundbreaking discovery of actin-dependent organelle movement in squid axoplasm

Tape: 6 Story: 10 - George Langford talks about biologist, Robert D. Allen

Tape: 6 Story: 11 - George Langford describes the implications of his discovery of actin-dependent organelle movement in squid axoplasm

Tape: 6 Story: 12 - George Langford describes his service on the National Science Board, and talks about atmospheric scientist, Warren Washington

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - George Langford talks about his service on the National Science Board's National Workforce Task Force Sub-Committee in 1999

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - George Langford describes his service as the dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at the University of Massachusetts

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - George Langford describes his service as the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Syracuse University

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - George Langford describes his current research on yeast toxins and the collaboration between science and humanities at Syracuse University

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - George Langford shares his perspectives on how modern technology affects education

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - George Langford describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - George Langford reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - George Langford reflects upon his choices and shares his advice to young students who want to pursue studies in the STEM fields

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - George Langford talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - George Langford talks about his exposure to the liberal arts and humanities at Dartmouth College

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - George Langford talks about how he would like to be remembered

DASession

1$1

DATape

5$7

DAStory

8$1

DATitle
George Langford describes his rich scientific experience at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL), and its influence on his research career
George Langford talks about his service on the National Science Board's National Workforce Task Force Sub-Committee in 1999
Transcript
So, it was while you were there [University of Massachusetts in Boston] that you took advantage of the Marine Biological Laboratory [MBL] at Woods Hole [Massachusetts].$$That's right, that's right. I began going to the Marine Biological Laboratory in '72 [1972] when I was at Penn [University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]. And then I continued going for the time that I was at the University of Massachusetts in Boston.$$Okay. Well, tell us the significance of this place. And then there's another, there's a figure in the history of black science that spent a lot of time there, Dr. Ernest Everett Just [pioneering African American embryologist who studied the early development of marine invertebrates].$$Right.$$I think you've discussed him in lectures and that sort of thing, so--$$Right. Yes, so the Marine Biological Laboratory became one of the most important institutions in my development as a scientist. I went there while I was a post-doc at Penn because my, post-doc mentor Shinya Inoue always moved his laboratory there in the summers. And I went there to take the physiology course, and this was one of those amazing experiences. It's a total emersion course. It teaches you really the fine points of research science, and you're learning it from the best people in the discipline. So it's a great place, it's very student-oriented. Faculty members who come there do it because they love to do it. They are accessible in ways that they're not when they're at the home institution. And it creates this atmosphere of openness and really strong support. So, you develop, you know, an excellent network of individuals to work with as a result of being there. So, I went there in '72 [1972] for the physiology course, and I went back in '74 [1974] for the neurobiology course. And then I began to go as an independent scientist. I served as an MBL Steps [ph.] Fellow, a Macy--Josiah Macy Fellow, working in the laboratory of other scientists as I was developing my own research program, and then began to go there as an independent investigator. So, it's really, it's a unique place. If you've never been there it's really worth a visit because there's just none other place like it. So, for my own advisor, you know, because of the stress of all of the things he had to do when he was at the university, it was very hard to get in to talk to him. But in Woods Hole, it was easy, you know. You had, you could sit out on a bench by the water and talk at lunch. You could go--you know, you could spend time in the evenings working together. So, people were just accessible, and it was a wonderful learning experience. Because as I said before, you remember--I, you know, research science was all new to me, and it takes a long time to really develop a strong network and to understand just how to move a science project forward. So, I depended a great deal on the network of friends that I developed at the Marine Biological Laboratory.$[In] '99 [1999], you served as vice chair of the National Science--, I'm sorry, the National Science Board's National Workforce Task Force Sub-Committee.$$Right, right.$$What is that, now?$$So, the chair of the board at the time, Eamon (ph., unclear) [M. Kelly], wanted to address this issue of the lack of students going into the sciences. And so, he put together a task force of the board to really look at this issue. And so, for a year we actually studied the trends for students going into the sciences. And, you know, it was really frightening what we observed, you know. The data showed that we were still under-producing students in the sciences. We were doing better in the biological sciences but the numbers were very, very, small in physics and they were pretty miserable in chemistry and really bad in engineering. And so, the board put together a strong set of recommendations on how we could increase the number of students, the domestic students, who were majoring in the sciences. This is an ongoing problem, we haven't solved it. But the board was really on top of it way back there in '98 [1998], '99 [1999] to try to address that issue.$$Okay, okay. Now in 2000 you were nominated by President [Bill] Clinton for a second six-year term on the National Science Board, and you then subsequently served in 2002, you served as chair of the National Science Board Education and Human Resources Committee.$$Right, right. So, the board had several standing committees. And one of the standing committees was the Committee on the Education and Human Resources Directive. And so, this was a very important assignment as well, because this was the committee that oversaw all of the program activities at the NSF [National Science Foundation] that were designed to increase the pipeline. You know, programs that were designed to increase the quality of training in the public schools in K-12 [kindergarten through twelfth grade] as well as curriculum changes within the universities. And so, this, the committee was in charge of oversight of all of those grant programs.$$Okay. How closely did you work with Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson? You know, she was in charge of the science committee.$$That's right, yes. I got to attend several workshops that she organized to deal with this question. And she was a very, very strong supporter of the National Science Foundation and the programs that it had designed to increase students in the sciences. So, she was considered one of our strongest champions on the [Capitol] Hill.$$Okay.

Patrick R. Gaston

Patrick Reginald Gaston was born on August 5, 1957, in Port Au Prince, Haiti. While still a youth, Gaston and his family moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where he remained until he relocated to Montreal, Canada, as a teen to attend boarding school. From Montreal, Gaston went on to the University of Massachusetts, from which he graduated with his B.A. degree in management in 1984; that same year he began work with Verizon. In 1992, Gaston received his M.B.A. degree from Northeastern University. In addition to the degrees he was awarded within the United States, Gaston also earned an international certificate in business from Ecolé Superieure de Commerce in Reims, France.

Remaining with Verizon throughout his professional development, Gaston occupied a wide array of management positions, ranging from operations, to marketing, to human resources, to strategic planning and government relations. Eventually, Gaston rose to the position of executive director of Verizon’s Strategic Alliances Group, in which he coordinated the company’s activities within the community.

Gaston was named the president of the Verizon Foundation in 2003; here he was charged with overseeing the philanthropic activities of the company, including the issuing of grant funding to community development programs. The Verizon Foundation placed special emphasis on the utilization of technology and literacy to improve the quality of community life; to help achieve those aims, Gaston oversaw an annual budget of $75 million. In 2007, Gaston took on the additional role of independent director and member of the audit committee of Bed Bath & Beyond, Inc.

In addition to his professional activities with Verizon and Bed Bath & Beyond, Gaston is heavily involved with a variety of organizations and foundations, including the NAACP Special Contributions Fund Board of Trustees; America’s Charities; the Foundation of the University of West Indies; and the World Institute on Disability. Gaston has also served as a fellow at the Aspen Institute, and a guest lecturer on the topics of public responsibility and philanthropy at a long list of universities that included Rutgers University, and Dartmouth College.

Accession Number

A2005.212

Sex

Male

Interview Date

8/30/2005

Last Name

Gaston

Maker Category
Middle Name

R.

Schools

Ecole Frere Andre

College Laval

College Francais

Matignon High School

Northeastern University

Boston State College

University of Massachusetts Boston

First Name

Patrick

Birth City, State, Country

Port Au Prince

HM ID

GAS01

Favorite Season

Fall, Spring

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris, France

Favorite Quote

I Love You, Daniel.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

8/5/1957

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

Haiti

Favorite Food

Spicy Food

Short Description

Telecommunications executive Patrick R. Gaston (1957 - ) was appointed president of the Verizon Foundation in 2003. In 2007, Gaston took on the additional role of independent director and member of the audit committee of Bed Bath & Beyond, Inc.

Employment

Gaebler Children's Center

Kennedy Memorial School

Kendall Corporation

The Boston Globe

Verizon Communications

Verizon Foundation

Favorite Color

All Colors

Timing Pairs
0,0:1934,37:2426,44:6690,139:7100,146:7756,250:20045,435:22454,496:22746,501:30995,671:33039,704:33331,722:35229,759:36032,776:67852,1386:94668,1819:96540,1860:96930,1866:97242,1871:99192,1925:99660,1935:100128,1951:102234,1993:104340,2029:105588,2047:112844,2114:114669,2137:118319,2214:118903,2223:119706,2237:129778,2429:130210,2437:132370,2476:134026,2513:136402,2561:141154,2695:161170,3014$0,0:592,10:3996,100:4884,116:8214,226:9990,261:10656,272:15688,392:16280,402:25675,519:25959,524:27166,538:27805,548:28089,553:28799,565:29225,573:30006,586:31000,603:31426,611:32704,633:33130,641:33414,646:35899,716:36609,730:53516,987:54108,996:57364,1057:58622,1079:60694,1117:64024,1185:65208,1207:73665,1260:74614,1272:77023,1317:84396,1471:84688,1476:84980,1481:85856,1495:86586,1506:87316,1518:88557,1545:101804,1692:102977,1712:105047,1744:105392,1750:109187,1830:109739,1844:110153,1851:110429,1856:110705,1861:110981,1866:111395,1874:111671,1879:111947,1884:112361,1891:114638,1921:116294,1951:116708,1958:117191,1967:117605,1974:119744,2030:120503,2042:120917,2049:131390,2197:131694,2209:132986,2252:133290,2259:133974,2269:136026,2312:136406,2318:136862,2326:137166,2331:145526,2501:145982,2508:152290,2618:161484,2678:162776,2698:163156,2705:164980,2735:166348,2763:176228,3018:176684,3026:178812,3063:182090,3078:183450,3106:183994,3115:184266,3120:184606,3126:187598,3187:187938,3193:188210,3198:188754,3210:198280,3353
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Patrick R. Gaston's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Patrick R. Gaston lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Patrick R. Gaston describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Patrick R. Gaston describes his mother's life in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Patrick R. Gaston describes his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Patrick R. Gaston describes his parents' meeting

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Patrick R. Gaston describes his understanding of slavery in Haiti

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Patrick R. Gaston describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Patrick R. Gaston recalls holidays in Haiti

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Patrick R. Gaston describes his early education in Haiti

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Patrick R. Gaston describes his childhood role models

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Patrick R. Gaston describes his aspirations while at Ecole Frere Andre in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Patrick R. Gaston remembers his mother moving to the United States

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Patrick R. Gaston remembers his mother's time alone in the United States

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Patrick R. Gaston remembers his family's move to Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Patrick R. Gaston recalls encountering discrimination in the United States

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Patrick R. Gaston remembers the Haitian community in Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Patrick R. Gaston remembers attending boarding school in Montreal, Canada

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Patrick R. Gaston describes differences between race relations in Canada and the United States

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Patrick R. Gaston describes attending high school in Montreal and Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Patrick R. Gaston recalls choosing to study business at the University of Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Patrick R. Gaston describes working for International Weekends

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Patrick R. Gaston remembers his social life

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Patrick R. Gaston describes his father's lifestyle

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Patrick R. Gaston recalls getting hired at New England Telephone

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Patrick R. Gaston recalls his first year at New England Telephone

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Patrick R. Gaston remembers seeking support and opportunity at New England Telephone

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Patrick R. Gaston describes the environment of NYNEX in the 1980s

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Patrick R. Gaston remembers his job training employees at NYNEX

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Patrick R. Gaston remembers being hired in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Patrick R. Gaston describes working in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Patrick R. Gaston describes lobbying for the Telecommunications Act of 1996

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Patrick R. Gaston remembers his government relations work for NYNEX and his father's death

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Patrick R. Gaston describes working as assistant vice president for NYNEX in New York City

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Patrick R. Gaston describes serving on various boards

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Patrick R. Gaston describes being hired as executive director of the Verizon Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Patrick R. Gaston describes establishing a platform for the Verizon Foundation

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Patrick R. Gaston describes the Verizon Foundation's platforms

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Patrick R. Gaston describes the Verizon Foundation's literacy programs and domestic violence prevention, pt. 1

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Patrick R. Gaston describes Verizon Foundation's literacy programs and domestic violence prevention, pt. 2

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Patrick R. Gaston shares advice for people following in his footsteps

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Patrick R. Gaston talks about his wife

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Patrick R. Gaston shares his hopes for the future

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Patrick R. Gaston reflects upon the importance of history

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Patrick R. Gaston describes his hopes for minority communities

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Patrick R. Gaston narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$4

DAStory

1$7

DATitle
Patrick R. Gaston describes working for International Weekends
Patrick R. Gaston describes establishing a platform for the Verizon Foundation
Transcript
You were completing the story at The Boston Globe.$$Yes. I, I forget exactly where, where I was with that.$$You--well, we'll just take it back a little. He said--you says, "No, Tom [Thomas Winship], I'm, I'm going to be--"$$Yeah, I said--I told--I said, Tom, I (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) I wanna be a businessman.$$"I wanna be a businessman. I don't wanna be a writer." And so--you know, and by the way--and I think the, the thing is, the opportunity to write for The Boston Globe is a huge opportunity and I didn't have anything else to show for it but my--you know, I didn't have anything else in contrast except going to school so, and working for Tom. But something said to me, stick with your guns. Go to school and get your business degree, which I did. So when I finished--you know, I graduated in 1984, one of the things I'd always wanted to do was go live and work in Paris [France] which--and, and I remember I was up for this job and I was interviewed for Carol Remick who was the director of our student office, right, at, at UMass [University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Massachusetts], you know, said to me you should apply for this job and it was a group called International Weekends. And so I said, okay, I'll apply for the job. I applied and I said, I'll probably not have a chance on earth, and I applied for this job and I wanted it so bad to be working in Paris, oh. You know, at the--at, at twenty-three, twenty-four years of age and then eventually I got the job. So I wound up in Paris as the tour director for International Weekends, lived in Montparnasse, the Montparnasse Hotel, which is now the Meridien [Le Meridien Montparnasse; Pullman Paris Montparnasse, Paris, France] and, and just went about doing my thing in Paris--$$(Laughter).$$--for eight months, which was fascinating, fascinating. I thought I'd never come back. Of course, you know, I, I had to come back. A couple of things, though, about that experience, is back then I was traveling, I had--I, I was still--I still had Haitian citizenship. So and go--in traveling through Europe, particularly Switzerland when--they would scrutinize my passport a whole lot more. I mean, do--if you had a--an American passport, you just go right by. And in my case, you know, they would make a stink out of my Haitian passport. And I said--I was thinking, I said, you know what, I--when I get back to the United States, I need to become naturalized. I need to get--to become a citizen. And so, you know, after eight months of that experience, I had an opportunity to go to--because the way International Weekends was, is you would do six to eight months there, then you go six to eight months there and et cetera, and that becomes your career. And I was thinking, I said to myself, you know, this is not much of a career. I mean, I'm not gonna go, go to the Caribbean. It may seem like a wonderful lifestyle, but I wanna start my career in earnest, so then that's when I came back to the United States.$So do you come in with your own platform? Or Verizon [Verizon Communications, Inc.] had a platform that you had to work within [as president of the Verizon Foundation]?$$It--it's a little bit of both. I think in America--in corporate America or even, even in society at large, you know, it's like you may come in with your own platform, but it'll get tweaked just a little bit and then you should be prepared to, to work with it. And so I think in my case, I obviously I came in, I think--I knew that we had to make sure that we align ourselves with technology, that we leverage our technology to be able to deliver on the grants that we were making, you know--$$But give me an example of that.$$I'll give you an example. For example, if you are in the business--let's take literacy, right? Literacy--basic literacy is, is a skill that we're trying to get people to acquire. There are ways in which you can acquire that skill. I can read a book to you or I can provide you with a computer connection, an Internet connection to the web, I can deliver applications that fit your learning style, it can interface with you in a way that allows you to learn without having to have a person be there to do that to guide you. So that is one way of leveraging technology, connectivity, applications, et cetera, to be able to get you to learn. And then by the way--and that has the--you have the ability to replicate it and to scale it. So the idea is how do you have a much more strategic and thoughtful approach to social investments that we make? So I was thinking it along those lines and I was thinking, well, you know, we--it's, it's philanthropy but it should be run with, you know, using business like disciplines, you know, and, and using management disciplines to get it done and leveraging our core competencies as a business. We should also make sure that we have more people behind us with regards to our social investments. It's not enough that ten people that work for me in this room know about it, the entire corporation should know what we're trying to do. They should be ambassadors. They should embrace it. They should be ambassadors out there in the communities around some of the things that we're trying to do. There was also a knowledge that, you know, having been--coming from a place where I came from, right, where, you know, I--Haiti and, et cetera, where I remember learning how to read (laughter) and I remember not having. And I remember what it's--the--that a dollar invested somewhere made a big difference where I came from. So I saw it--I mean, I have--we invest about $48 million of the $72 million budget that I have. So that $48 million I think can make a difference.$$You invest it--$$Social investments.$$Social investment.$$Meaning we, we, we invest it in--$$You--$$--organizations.$$Communities.$$Communities, yes. So I--so that--it, it--it's more or less an entire approach. Now, my predecessor [Suzanne Dubose] did a fantastic job at, you know, mechanizing our system, professionalizing it and I think I'm just basically building on what she's--the platform that she's provided. But the entire thing is--in my view is how do you bring your heart, your soul, your competencies to bear when you're doing a job, your commitment and, et cetera, to bear when you're doing a job and to be smart at it?

Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr.

Dr. LaSalle Doheny Leffall, Jr. was born May 22, 1930, in Tallahasee, Florida, but grew up in Quincy, Florida. His parents, Lula Jourdan and LaSalle Leffall, Sr. met at Alabama Teachers College. Leffall graduated from Dr. Wallace S. Stevens High School at age 15 years in 1945. Awarded his B.S. degree summa cum laude from Florida A & M College in 1948, Leffall at age twenty-two earned his M.D. from Howard University College of Medicine. There, Dr. Burke Syphax, Dr. Jack White, Dr. W. Montague Cobb and the celebrated Dr. Charles R. Drew taught him.

Upon earning his M.D., Leffall continued his medical training as intern at Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis; assistant resident in surgery at Freedman’s Hospital from 1953 to 1954; assistant resident in surgery at D.C. General Hospital from 1954 to 1955; chief resident in surgery at Freedman’s Hospital from 1956 to 1957 and senior fellow in cancer surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital from 1957 to 1959. Beginning his military service at the rank of Captain, M. C., he served as chief of general surgery at the U. S. Army Hospital in Munich, Germany, from 1960 to 1961. Leffall joined Howard’s faculty, in 1962, as an assistant professor and by 1970, he was chairman of the Department of Surgery, a position he held for twenty-five years. He was named the Charles R. Drew Professor in 1992, occupying the first endowed chair in the history of Howard’s Department of Surgery.

Leffall has served as visiting professor at over 200 medical institutions in the U.S. and abroad and authored or coauthored over 130 articles and chapters. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Surgery and a fellow of both the American College of Surgeons and the American College of Gastroenterology. His professional life has been devoted to the study of cancer, especially among African Americans. In 1979, as president of the American Cancer Society, Leffall developed programs and emphasized the importance of this study for the benefit of the African American population and other ethnic groups. Cancers of the head and neck, breast, colorectum and soft part sarcomas are his main areas of interest.

Surgeon, oncologist, medical educator and civic leader, and the recipient of many awards, Leffall has taught over 4,500 medical students and trained at least 250 general surgery residents. In 1995 he was elected president of the American College of Surgeons and in 2002 was named chairman of the President’s Cancer Panel. He and his wife, Ruthie have one grown son, LeSalle, III.

Leffall passed away on May 26, 2019.

Accession Number

A2004.064

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/7/2004

Last Name

Leffall

Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

D.

Schools

William S. Stevens High School

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Howard University College of Medicine

First Name

La Salle

Birth City, State, Country

Tallahassee

HM ID

LEF02

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Puerto Rico, Maine

Favorite Quote

Equanimity under duress

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

5/22/1930

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Sole

Death Date

5/26/2019

Short Description

Medical professor, oncologist, and surgeon Dr. LaSalle D. Leffall, Jr. (1930 - ) is the president of the American College of Surgeons and chairs the President's Cancer Panel. Leffall has authored over 150 articles, has taught over 4,500 medical students and trained at least 250 general surgery residents at the Howard University College of Medicine.

Employment

Homer G. Phillips Hospital (St. Louis, Missouri)

Freedmen's Hospital, Howard University

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Howard University College of Medicine

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Georgetown University

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
0,0:1848,37:7722,232:8052,238:8316,243:8910,254:11418,320:12276,352:15246,459:15642,467:16104,476:17160,502:17424,507:17820,515:18942,540:19338,550:20526,575:20922,583:27380,593:28660,666:33700,746:35940,779:36260,784:37300,801:39460,852:40020,860:45560,880:48742,929:52834,1036:53082,1041:53578,1051:53950,1059:55314,1088:56244,1108:57794,1145:62240,1177:62905,1188:64660,1201:65080,1209:65920,1229:66400,1244:66880,1253:67660,1273:67900,1278:68140,1283:68440,1289:70304,1305:71032,1324:71760,1343:75904,1453:76520,1465:77024,1481:77584,1493:78088,1508:79656,1560:80104,1569:80496,1577:81280,1595:81504,1600:82344,1620:82904,1631:87700,1649:88276,1661:88596,1667:88980,1675:89556,1686:92340,1726:92960,1740:95130,1786:95626,1797:97734,1847:98044,1853:98478,1862:98850,1869:99594,1884:100338,1905:100958,1917:102322,1947:106176,1972:106995,1995:107373,2002:108003,2013:108381,2020:109011,2031:111405,2082:112098,2098:112413,2104:112917,2116:113358,2124:117443,2147:117778,2154:120726,2253:123741,2320:124076,2326:124880,2345:125349,2354:126555,2396:127694,2425:128096,2432:128498,2439:130709,2500:131178,2508:132317,2531:137070,2538:138695,2585:138955,2590:140190,2612:141035,2630:143310,2681:143830,2692:144090,2697:147446,2718:147950,2729:148454,2739:148734,2745:149126,2755:149574,2764:149966,2772:151646,2803:152934,2811:154950,2860:155678,2877:156070,2885:156294,2890:156518,2895:156854,2902:157638,2919:158086,2928:158478,2936:161294,2958:161806,2967:162254,2975:162958,2987:163278,2993:164750,3025:165198,3033:165454,3038:165838,3045:166606,3060:166990,3067:167758,3082:168270,3091:168718,3099:171342,3116:172174,3133:172878,3145:173198,3151:173774,3161:174030,3166:174414,3173:174670,3178:175054,3185:175374,3191:176014,3202:177806,3241:178126,3247:179278,3277:179790,3286:180238,3294:180942,3307:181198,3312:181582,3319:181902,3325:182734,3340:183118,3347:183886,3362:184398,3371:184846,3379:188022,3391$0,0:1235,30:1755,39:2145,46:8970,195:11310,247:11895,257:12480,268:13000,277:13455,288:13845,296:14105,301:14690,311:15340,326:15795,333:17030,352:17810,364:18135,371:18590,380:19500,395:19825,401:21515,436:22620,469:31565,597:32148,611:32572,620:32890,627:33579,645:35275,688:35540,694:35805,700:36282,711:36653,719:37660,745:38084,754:38561,765:41370,776:43974,819:44842,837:45400,854:45772,861:46578,877:47136,887:48376,911:49120,936:49616,945:50174,956:51042,974:51600,985:52716,1007:53274,1017:53770,1026:56250,1091:56932,1114:57242,1120:57738,1129:58296,1141:58792,1150:59412,1163:59970,1175:64550,1209:64862,1214:65642,1226:66266,1235:66578,1240:67124,1249:68294,1287:69230,1324:69698,1332:70088,1337:72272,1372:72974,1382:74378,1403:75782,1434:76562,1445:80460,1450:80916,1458:81220,1463:81676,1469:82132,1477:82436,1482:83120,1495:85096,1537:85780,1549:87528,1584:88136,1593:88820,1604:92114,1641:92762,1654:93049,1661
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of LaSalle Leffall interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - LaSalle Leffall's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - LaSalle Leffall describes his mother's background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - LaSalle Leffall describes his father's background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - LaSalle Leffall recounts his early years in Quincy, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - LaSalle Leffall describes his childhood interests

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - LaSalle Leffall describes his early influences

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - LaSalle Leffall recounts his college years at Florida A&M

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - LaSalle Leffall remembers influential teachers at Florida A & M

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - LaSalle Leffall recalls his admission to medical school

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - LaSalle Leffall recounts his experience at Howard University Medical School

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - LaSalle Leffall describes Dr. W. Montague Cobb, a memorable instuctor at Howard Medical School

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - LaSalle Leffall remembers an influential physician, Dr. Charles Drew

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - LaSalle Leffall remembers Dr. Syphax and Dr. White at Howard University School of Medicine

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - LaSalle Leffall talks about the influence of Dr. Jack White at Howard School of Medicine

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - LaSalle Leffall recalls his medical internship at Homer Phillips Hospital in St. Louis

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - LaSalle Leffall recounts his experience as one of the first black residents at Gallinger Hospital

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - LaSalle Leffall recalls his surgical residency at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, 1957-1959

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - LaSalle Leffall recalls his courtship and marriage and his military service in Germany

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - LaSalle Leffall summarizes his career at Howard from 1962-2004

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - LaSalle Leffall details his work with American Cancer Society including foreign humanitarian and research work

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - LaSalle Leffall discusses cancer and race

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - LaSalle Leffall evaluates new cancer treatments

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - LaSalle Leffall discusses his son

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - LaSalle Leffall discusses his wife's family's five generations of college graduates

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - LaSalle Leffall talks about his presidencies of American Cancer Society and American College of Surgeons

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - LaSalle Leffall expresses his hopes for the future

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - LaSalle Leffall talks about working with the Bush family on cancer-related projects

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - LaSalle Leffall discusses the role of attitude in cancer treatment

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - LaSalle Leffall remembers his parents

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - LaSalle Leffall considers his legacy and the role of a teacher

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - LaSalle Leffall considers healthcare reform

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - LaSalle Leffall reflects on the course of his career

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - LaSalle Leffall shares advice for blacks aspiring to be doctors

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

4$3

DATitle
LaSalle Leffall describes Dr. W. Montague Cobb, a memorable instuctor at Howard Medical School
LaSalle Leffall talks about his presidencies of American Cancer Society and American College of Surgeons
Transcript
One of your teachers, I know, was W. Montague Cobb, and that's someone who--?$$Absolutely, Dr., Dr. W. Montague Cobb was one of my favorite teachers [at Howard University Medical School, Washington, D.C.]. He was a man I met in my first year because he taught anatomy. And he used to have what we would call "bust out sessions". Now, what does that mean? You'd go into him, and you'd say "bust me out", meaning, ask me any question you want to ask me. I think I know the answer. And, and I liked that kind of challenge. And he liked that. He liked young students who felt so confident that they would walk in and say, "Dr. Cobb, bust me out" (laughter), and that meant, ask me anything you want on anatomy. And we wanted to let him know that we knew the answers. And I just enjoyed him as a teacher. And we used to have something called the cadaver walk. On the final examination, they would ask a hundred and eighty questions, and the cadavers have all been dissected then. All the cadavers are dissected. And they would have labels on some of everything, arteries, veins, muscles, bones, all this. And you had to identify those structures. And I really loved that. And when I was a medical student in my later years and as a surgical resident, I used to come back every year to go over with the freshman, medical and dental students, the cadaver, to prepare them, help prepare them for the cadaver walk. But Dr. Cobb was, I think an outstanding teacher, but in addition to that, I worked with him as assistant editor of the "Journal of the National Medical Association", and even though he was not a practicing physician, he did some of the early work in helping to integrate Gallinger Municipal Hospital, which was the city hospital then, but controlled totally by whites, no blacks on the staff. And Dr. Cobb was one of the major ones who helped integrate that hospital. And so in addition to being an excellent teacher as professor of anatomy, he also helped in--on the social basis, for social justice in medicine, helping to integrate Gallinger Municipal Hospital, which later became D.C. General Hospital.$$Now, he was also a musician too, I believe.$$Oh, he loved to play the fiddle, the vio--I say the fiddle. He loved to play the violin. And when we'd have the medical school smoker, he would come, and he would play the violin. He was a very learned man. I, I learned a lot from Dr. Cobb, having worked with him as assistant editor of "The Journal of the National Medical Association", and then having this interest I had in anatomy, I would go and talk with him. And he was just a first-rate individual and it was a, an honor for me to get to know a man like that.$$Now, maybe we should say something about what "The National Medical Association" is?$$The National Medical Association is an association founded in 1895 by black physicians because they were denied admission to the American Medical Association. And the National Medical Association still exists. And we think it exists because even though blacks can now become members of the American Medical Association, the National Medical Association still addresses some issues that affect black physicians disproportionately. And therefore, we still think there is a role for the National Medical Association, even though black physicians can become members of the American Medical Association.$I think the presidency of the American Cancer Society came first, right?$$It did. I became president of the American Cancer Society in 1978, had a year from 1978 to '79 [1979], and had a lot of wonderful trips. I went all around speaking to the different groups and chapters here, went abroad, many different places, to the Soviet Union, the Peoples Republic of China, Vietnam, Liberia. Then other places, just around--the Dominican Republic, this--speaking for the American Cancer Society. But I am a surgeon. I'm a trained surgeon. And my specialty happens to be cancer. That's why I was active in the American Cancer Society. But I'm also active as a surgeon, and I became the first black president, African American president of the American College of Surgeons. That was in 1995 -'96 [1996]. So I, I was deeply honored by that, and I went around speaking to the different chapters. Your primary role as president of the American College of Surgeons is to go around the country, speak to the different chapters with the fellows who are in the chapters, to find out what their concerns are and bring those concerns back to the national body and see what can be done on a national level to help, help address the problems they tell you about. And that's what I did, but in addition, I went to South Africa. I went to Hong Kong, I went to Canada. I went to different places, and--went to Germany. So I got an honorary fellowship from Canada, from South Africa, from Germany. So that was a, the height of my professional career as a surgeon was to be president of the American College of Surgeons. That was the height of my professional career.

Dr. Harold Freeman

Harold Freeman, M.D., the preeminent authority on the subject of poverty and cancer, was born on March 2, 1933, in Washington, D.C. Freeman attended Washington D.C.'s Catholic University and continued his studies at Howard University Medical School.

After graduation, Freeman moved to New York to complete his residency at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, beginning his medical career at Harlem Hospital Center in 1967. At the Harlem Hospital Center, Freeman was shocked to learn that the majority of his patients had hopelessly advanced cases of cancer. Freeman set out to determine the cause of higher mortality rates of these African Americans and to reduce the race and income related disparities in health care.

In 1979, Freeman established two free breast- and cervical-cancer-screening centers in Harlem in order to improve the chances of early detection. He authored the landmark report, "Cancer in the Economically Disadvantaged," which established the links between poverty and excess cancer mortality. Freeman was national president of the American Cancer Society from 1988 to 1989, is the chief architect of its Initiative on Cancer and the Poor, and was honored in 1990 by the American Cancer Society with the creation of a special award in his name.

Freeman was the director of the Department of Surgery for twenty-five years at Harlem Hospital Center (1974-1999). Currently, Dr. Freeman is professor of clinical surgery at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Freeman is chairman of the U.S. President's Cancer Panel, a position he has held since 1991, and was appointed as director of the National Cancer Institute's Center for Reducing Health Disparities in 2000.

Accession Number

A2001.034

Sex

Male

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

5/17/2001

Last Name

Freeman

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

Thomas P. Morgan Elementary School

Benjamin Banneker Academic High School

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Catholic University of America

Howard University College of Medicine

Howard University Hospital

Senior Resident in Cancer Surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Archival Photo 2
First Name

Harold

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

FRE01

Favorite Season

Spring, Summer

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

New York

Birth Date

3/2/1933

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New York

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Corn

Short Description

Oncologist Dr. Harold Freeman (1933 - ) authored the landmark report, "Cancer in the Economically Disadvantaged," which established the links between poverty and excess cancer mortality. Freeman was national president of the American Cancer Society from 1988 to 1989, and is the chief architect of its Initiative on Cancer and the Poor. Freeman was the director of the Department of Surgery at Harlem Hospital Center from 1974 to 1999.

Employment

Harlem Hospital

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

North General Hospital

Favorite Color

Yellow

DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Harold Freeman interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Harold Freeman's favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Harold Freeman details his family history

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Harold Freeman recalls his paternal grandfather and his father

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Harold Freeman relates how his parents met

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Harold Freeman remembers his mother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Harold Freeman discusses his parents' compatibility

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Harold Freeman lists his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Harold Freeman recalls his involvement in tennis

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Harold Freeman expresses the importance of his religious upbringing

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Harold Freeman describes his childhood community

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Harold Freeman remembers his elementary school

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Harold Freeman considers the effect of his father's death on his family

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Harold Freeman describes himself as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Harold Freeman illustrates his relationship with his siblings

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Harold Freeman remembers a neighbor who became a mentor after his father died

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Harold Freeman compares his relationship with his elder brothers and a neighbor

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Harold Freeman describes himself as a teenager

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Harold Freeman recalls a black school counselor who warned students to lower their goals--a devastating experience

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Harold Freeman recounts his experiences at Catholic University of America

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Harold Freeman recalls his years at Howard Medical School and his choice to become a surgeon

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Harold Freeman recounts his residency and early marriage

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Harold Freeman remembers his transition to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Medical Center

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Harold Freeman remembers Arthur Holleb, his mentor at Memorial Sloan Kettering and the American Cancer Society

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Harold Freeman continues to recall his mentor, Arthur Holleb

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Harold Freeman describes his medical training as "encapsulated" from the huge events of the times

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Harold Freeman discusses the white medical students at Howard

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Harold Freeman discusses the increasing public attention paid to cancer by 1970

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Harold Freeman talks about Richard Nixon's "War Against Cancer" and his own choice to focus on breast cancer

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Harold Freeman describes Harlem Hospital in the late 1960s

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Harold Freeman recounts the beginnings of his research on poverty and cancer

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Harold Freeman details the links between poverty and cancer

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Harold Freeman discusses the links between culture and disease

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Harold Freeman details the intersections of racism, power, and health problems

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Harold Freeman explains why black women have a lower incidence but higher death rate with cancer

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Harold Freeman proposes solutions to the disparity in cancer death rates by race

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Harold Freeman discusses his future plans

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Harold Freeman discusses "third-world communities" in the U.S.

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Harold Freeman reflects on his life and career

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Harold Freeman considers his legacy