Below is the second part of "African-American Doctors and Educators."
Dr. Keith Lanier Black is an African-American surgeon and teacher who performs nearly 200 brain-tumor operations each year. He also is using the latest technology as he tries to develop a cure for brain tumors.
Another African-American, Dr. Ben Carson, was a poor student until his mother insisted that he read more and write small reports on his books. This homework changed his life, and he became excited about learning.
Dr. Carson is now a successful surgeon, professor, and author of three books. In one of Dr. Carson's most difficult surgeries, he successfully separated twins who were born joined together.
Some well-known African-Americans throughout the years have been both doctors and educators. Dr. Walter Massey was a wiz in physics. He found a way to use liquid helium to slow down the motion of atoms so that scientists could study their activity. Later on, Dr. Massey became a college president and also headed the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
African-American doctors and researchers also have made many contributions to NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, since the beginning of the space program. Dr. Patricia Cowings from the University of California has done work for NASA for more than 20 years. Among other things, she helped develop ways to reduce astronauts' headaches and space sickness during flights.
Christine Darden, who has been with NASA since 1966, is a mathematician and engineer whose work has made spacecraft wings and nose cones safer. Dr. Vance Marchbanks, who is a medical specialist for NASA, developed ways to monitor astronauts' health during space flights. He was responsible for the health of astronaut John Glenn, who made the United States' first manned flight into orbit.
Dr. Robert Shurney, from Tennessee State University, designed the tires for the moon buggy that was used during the Apollo 15 mission that landed on the moon in 1972. And in 1992, Dr. Mae Jemison became the first African-American woman in space. While aboard the space shuttle Endeavor for eight days, she conducted several medical experiments.
African-Americans also have made key contributions to the current information age. They have developed systems that let the memory on your computer expand, and they also have contributed to the creation of very small yet powerful computers. This new technology is being used to help educate and improve the health not only of other African-Americans but of people of all races.
Learning about the past helps us prepare for the future. But what would it be like if you could actually zoom ahead into the future?
If you close your eyes, you can imagine a young slave time-traveling from the 1800s into the 21st Century. He could visit a lab where black scientists are preparing for life in space, or enter a small classroom where students his age are learning ancient history as well as advanced mathematics.
In this century, as a free and educated African-American, he can be anything he wants to be. Even though he would find computers everywhere, he probably would still want to experience the magic of reading a book.
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