VIVIEN T. THOMAS (assisted Hopkins' surgery chief, Alfred Blalock in 1944, successfully operated on the heart of a 9-pound child called a "blue baby", was believed cardiac surgery was impossible, stationed on a stool at the right shoulder of surgeon who guided him through the procedure, prejudice has kept his role unacknowledged until now)
The young black janitor who changed the world ... Vivien Thomas (1910-1985). In 1944, Hopkins' surgery chief, Dr. Alfred Blalock, successfully operated on the heart of a 9-pound child, a "blue baby." As Blalock prepared to make his historic incision, he looked around the operating room and asked, "Where's Vivien?" Blalock would not begin surgery until his janitor-turned-surgical assistant, Vivien Thomas, was there to guide the procedure. Prejudice long kept Thomas' crucial role…
1899 - Buck Franklin, son of a Chickasaw freedman (shown with his older brother, Matthew) was named after his grandfather, who had been a slave of a Chickasaw family in Oklahoma. Buck Franklin became a lawyer, and defended survivors of the Tulsa Riots in 1921 which had resulted in the murder of 300 African Americans.
Betsey Stockton (c. 1798–1865) was an African American educator and missionary born into slavery in Princeton, NJ. She gained her freedom at 20 and travelled to Hawaii, Canada and Philadelphia teaching and serving as a nurse. She moved back to Princeton in 1835 and spent the rest of her life enriching the lives of the members of the local African American community. There is a window memorialized to her in the Witherspoon Street Church, Princeton, NJ.
Matthew Henson was the exploration partner of Robert Peary who help make the famous first trip to the north pole back in the early part of the 20th century. Mr. Henson was a skilled dog sled driver and may have been the first man to reach the geographic destination back in 1909 but Robert Peary was widely accredited for the feat. The African American Explorer would eventually move to Harlem at the Dunbar Apartments at 149th Street between 7th and 8th Avenue until he passed away in 1955.