Black History: Special Delivery!!
In 1980, Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. (1944-2015) performed the first implantation of an automatic defibrillator in a human heart. Watkins was also a professor of cardiac surgery and an associate dean at John Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore Maryland. Dr. Watkins was born in Parson, Kansas. He grew up in Montgomery, AL and became good friends with civil rights leader, Dr. Ralph Abernathy. He also met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who, at the time had just started preaching at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. Watkins was inspired by Dr. King and also became involved in the civil rights movement, serving as a volunteer driver transporting church members who were participating in the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1956.
He entered Tennessee State University in 1962 majoring in biology and graduated with honors in 1966. He was the first African American admitted to Vanderbilt School of Medicine in Nashville, TN. As the only black student in the medical school, he faced a great deal of racism and prejudice. His experience at Vanderbilt was lonely and he was often isolated. He graduated in 1970 and was the first African American graduate of the medical school. Watkins was also the first African American intern at Johns Hopkins University Medical. He then completed studies in physiology at Harvard University’s Medical School. While there he conducted breakthrough research related to congestive heart failure. Watkins then returned to Johns Hopkins as the first African American chief resident in heart surgery.
Dr. Watkins performed the first implantation of an automatic defibrillator in February 1980. He joined a medical team working on the defibrillator that included Michel Mirowski, Morton Mower and William Staewen. Watkins was assisted by Dr. Vincent Gott the chief of cardiac surgery. The operation was performed on a 57 year old woman from California. A defibrillator is a battery powered device that detects arrhythmia in the heart and emits an electric shock to correct it. The device has saved more than one million lives. Watkins was also a member of the medical school’s admission committee where he focused on recruiting African American students and addressing racial inequality within the medical school. His recruitment efforts resulted in the Medical school’s admissions of African American students increasing by 400% in a four year period.. Dr. Watkins died at the age of 70 in Baltimore, Maryland. Recent Posts:
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February 24, 2016 at 5:04 am
Inspiring, and informative. Your facts should be published and distributed in all 21st century schools. “Teaching outside the textbook” means that these are the facts that must be embedded into curriculum design. The true value of education lies in its relevance to the learners, and starts by reaching students where they are. Thank you so much!
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February 24, 2016 at 5:44 am
Thank you so much! I’m just a novice blogger. I really enjoy sharing lesser-known black history facts. I’ve only been blogging since July. I’ve always shared info I come across. This is my first time sharing anywhere besides my own Facebook page. It would sure be nice if more school books were more inclusive. I remember having an AMAZING history who was African American. She always shared more info than what the text book offered. Not just about black history either…..all different types. That’s probably what inspired me. I hope my blog encourages others to share info with their children and grandchildren. I feel like as a parent, I am my child’s first teacher. So many parents don’t know about this info either. Again, thank you. I appreciate you checking out the blog. Feel free to share the info with other. Black Mail is on facebook, twitter, and a few other social media sites. WordPress and Facebook get the most traffic for me right now.
February 24, 2016 at 4:40 pm
I think my computer hides your content. I came to this sight plent of times and I couldn’t find anything until I saw your calendar and clicked on a date.
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February 24, 2016 at 4:42 pm
Oh wow! I wonder wbu that is. Sometimes my post don’t show up inn the feeds even when I use the proper tags. Don’t know why that is. But for the most part I can see them in the feeds.
February 24, 2016 at 4:44 pm
So you don’t see the posts inn WordPress reader? I usually post 3-4 times a week. During black history month I’m posting everyday. I wouldn’t think my content id’s anything that would be blocked unless the term “black mail” is blocked by your computer.