Black History Month, originally established in 1926 as Negro History Week, was observed annually in the second week of February. The intent was to highlight people and events in African American history in order to ensure the physical and intellectual survival of the race. The observance was officially expanded in 1976 to a month-long recognition of accomplishments of African Americans.
In February, the Briscoe Library will host a traveling exhibition entitled Opening Doors: Contemporary African American Academic Surgeons. This exhibition, on loan from the National Library of Medicine, celebrates the achievements of early black physicians, healers, midwives and “root doctors”—traditional healers who used herbs, roots, potions and spells. These pioneers of medicine paved the way for future health care providers and opened doors to better health care for the African American community.
The collection features six panels that describe the challenges faced by African Americans seeking a medical education in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; the history of historically black institutions that trained physicians and nurses; achievements and contributions of four contemporary surgeons and educators; and several notable surgeons. The exhibition will be located on the 3rd floor of the library and will run from February 9 to March 29, 2015. For more information on library exhibits, contact Jonquil Feldman at 210-567-2428 or firstname.lastname@example.org.