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Cancer Culture:  How Structural Racism & Cancer is Attacking The Black Community

Welcome to Black Mail, where we bring you Black History:  Special Delivery!

Let’s talk about CANCER Culture! Black Americans have the highest death rate and lowest survival rates of any racial and ethnic group for all cancers combined and for most major cancers. These numbers are also alarming when considering that about 42% of cancer cases and 45% of cancer deaths are preventable.

Cancer is a set of diseases resulting from abnormal cells’ uncontrolled growth. Death can result if these diseased cells’ spread cannot be controlled. According to the American Cancer Association, About 224,080 new cancer cases and 73,680 cancer deaths are expected to occur among Black people in 2022. The causes of cancer are not fully understood. We do know that many factors are known to increase risk. We also know that many risk factors are modifiable/preventable (Example:  tobacco use and excess body weight). Approximately 1 in 3 black people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. About 1 in 5 Black men and 1 in 6 Black women will die from cancer. This data is alarming. There is also concern regarding how COVID-19 will potentially increase health disparities amongst communities of color, including possible increased cancer diagnosis and cancer-related deaths due to disruptions in screening and treatment related to the pandemic. It will take years to understand the impact of COVID 19 in this regard.

This post will share eight ways cancer is impacting Black communities. This information and more data can be found on the American Cancer Society website

Continue reading “Cancer Culture:  How Structural Racism & Cancer is Attacking The Black Community”

Hip Hop Public Health: Using Music, Art, And Science To Address Health Disparities In Communities Of Color

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

Welcome To Black Mail…..where we bring you Black History:  Special Delivery!

Hip Hop Public Health (HHPH) leverages the powerful trifecta of music, art, and science to increase health literacy, inspire positive behavior change, and promote health equity.  The non-profit was founded in 2014 by Dr. Olajide Williams and music artist Doug E. Fresh.  Dr. Williams is a neurologist and tenured professor at Columbia University.  Hailing from Lagos, Nigeria, Dr. Olajide Williams was born prematurely in his mother’s car in 1969.  His premature birth resulted in him having many health issues.  He spent the first year of his life in the hospital on a breathing machine. The breathing issues continued for years and resulted in frequent hospitalizations. 

Williams was enrolled in a boarding school in England in 1978.  His time at the school was difficult, as he struggled to find his place in the new environment due to his health challenges and his race.  Williams discovered that he felt most comfortable when in the company of medical staff at his school’s clinic.  Williams later returned to Nigeria where he completed medical school.  As a medical student, he was troubled by seeing many children dying from preventable conditions such as tetanus and other diseases that result from consuming contaminated drinking water. These concerns began to spark his interest in public health. 

Continue reading “Hip Hop Public Health: Using Music, Art, And Science To Address Health Disparities In Communities Of Color”

Ancient African Origins Of Birth Control

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

Early forms of birth control were documented in Africa, dating as far back as 1850 BC.  Papyrus scrolls have been discovered with instructions on making birth control with ingredients such as honey, acacia leaves, and lint which was used as a type of cervical cap to prevent sperm from entering the womb.  The Kahun Gynecological Papyrus of 1850 also documents descriptions of pessaries of acacia gum used as a contraceptive.   A pessary is a device placed in the vagina to prevent conception. Another method of birth control was to extend breastfeeding for up to three years. Perhaps the most famous form of birth control native to North Africa was the silphium plant.  The use of the plant as a means of contraception was widespread among ancient Greeks and Romans.  Found only in Cyrene (modern-day Lybia), it was exported to other regions and bought great wealth to the city. 

Continue reading “Ancient African Origins Of Birth Control”

African American Immunization Expert Accuses CDC and Deloitte Of Stealing Her Concept For A Vaccination Tracking System

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

African American immunization expert Tiffany Tate has accused the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with multinational services firm, Deloitte of stealing her idea for a mass vaccination tracker.   Tate’s vaccination tracker is known as PrepMod.  She is seeking $15 million in damages.  A cease and desist letter was issued to the CDC and Deloitte in August 2020.  Tate asserts that the CDC and Deloitte took concepts from her vaccination tracker and used them to develop a system with similar features.  The Deloitte and CDC vaccination tracking system is called the Vaccine Administration Management System (VAMS).  Deloitte also reportedly tried to hire Tate in June 2021 to help develop their system.  Tate claims the Deloitte system is the same system she already has with PrepMod. 

Continue reading “African American Immunization Expert Accuses CDC and Deloitte Of Stealing Her Concept For A Vaccination Tracking System”

Acupuncture & Activism: Dr. Mutulu Shakur & The People’s Drug Program

Black History: Special Delivery!!

Dr. Mutulu Shakur (1950 – )

Established on 1970, The People’s Drug Program was launched at Lincoln Hospital in New York by the Young Lords, the Black Panther Party, and other community activists. The Young Lords is a Puerto Rican liberation organization founded in 1968. The Black Panther Party was Black power political organization founded in 1966. Instrumental in this cause was Mutulu Shakur, a member of the black liberation group, the Republic of New Afrika.  Shakur was interested in the use of acupuncture to treat addiction.  Shakur became aware of acupuncture when his son received it after a car accident.    Shakur received training and began to practice acupuncture as part of the People’s Drug Program in 1971 along with Walter Bosque and other community volunteers. 

Continue reading “Acupuncture & Activism: Dr. Mutulu Shakur & The People’s Drug Program”

Alice Ball:  African American Chemist Who Developed First Successful Treatment of Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease)

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

alice ball
Alice Ball (1892-1916)

 Alice Augusta Ball (1892 – 1916) was the first to develop an effective treatment to cure leprosy (Hansen’s Disease).  It was not until years after her death that she received the credit she deserved. Ball was born in Seattle, Washington.  Her mother Laura was a photographer and her father, James P. Ball, Jr. was a lawyer. She had 3 siblings, two older brothers, and one younger sister. The family lived comfortably and by today’s standards would have been considered middle class.  The family moved to Honolulu, Hawaii in 1903 hoping that the warmer climate would be better for her father’s arthritis.  James Ball, Sr. died shortly after the move and the family relocated back to Seattle.  Ball graduated from high school in 1910 and then attended college at the University of Washington and the College of Hawaii (University of Hawaii); earning a bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical chemistry in 1912 and a bachelors degree in pharmacy in 1914, both from the University of Washington.  She then transferred to the College of Hawaii and was the first African American as well as the first woman to graduate with an M.S. degree in chemistry in 1915.  Upon graduation, she was offered a teaching and research position, making her the first woman chemistry instructor at the College of Hawaii at the age of 23. Continue reading “Alice Ball:  African American Chemist Who Developed First Successful Treatment of Leprosy (Hansen’s Disease)”

Increase In Suicide Attempts Among Black Teens

Black History: Special Delivery!!


According to the American Medical Association, the rate of suicide among Black youth has doubled in the last 20 years….It is the 3rd leading cause of death for Black Americans ages
15 to 24.

The National Organization For People Of Color Against Suicide “notes that depression, which often goes undiagnosed, is on the increase among African Americans.”

If you need help, reach out.

Check on your people! Help is available!

Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1 800-273-8255

Online Chat:

Some SuicideWarning Signs:
-Talking about wanting to die.
-Exploring methods -Expressing hopelessness; no reason to live
-Talking about being a burden to others
-Increasing use of alcohol or drugs
-Withdrawing or isolating

Check out this article from Yes! Magazine for more info:

Black Mental Health

Black History: Special Delivery!!

Mental Health and Wellness Matters!!

“African American adults are 20% more likely to experience mental health issues than the rest of the population”


Dr. Clarence S. Greene:  The First Board Certified African American Neurosurgeon in the United States

Black History: Special Delivery!!

Dr. Clarence Sumner Greene (1901 – 1957)

Dr. Clarence Sumner Greene was the first Board Certified African American Neurosurgeon in the United States. Sumner was born in 1901 in Washington DC. He moved to New York briefly when his mother remarried but soon returned to Washington DC to live with an aunt. Greene thrived there, academically and athletically. He attended Dunbar High School. During high school, he was given the nickname, “Bronze Adonis” by his classmate the young, Charles Drew.

After graduating high school, Greene entered the University of Pennsylvania majoring in dentistry. He graduated with a DDS in 1926 and practiced dentistry for a year. However, he did not find it fulfilling. Greene then enrolled in a pre-med program at Harvard University from 1927-1929. He completed an internship at Cleveland City Hospital in 1930. He then enrolled at Howard University Medical School where he graduated with a medical degree in 1936 at the age of 34. Green completed a surgery residency rotation under his childhood friend, Dr. Charles Drew. He then worked as a professor of surgery at Howard University Medical School.

In 1946, Greene had the good fortune to train with renowned surgeon Dr. Wilder Penfield at the Montreal Neurological Institute. In 1953 he became the first person of African descent to become certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery. Greene would then go on to serve as the Chair of Neurosurgery at Howard University. While there he successfully completed numerous surgeries related to intracranial aneurysms, brain tumors, and herniated intervertebral discs.

Greene died unexpectedly in 1957 at the age of 56. His son Charles Greene, Jr would follow in his footsteps becoming a successful pediatric neurosurgeon.


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