African Americans in the U.S.
December 1, 2010
Angela D. Ferguson, M.D.
Angela D. Ferguson was born on February 15, 1925 in Washington, D.C. She was one of eight children. As a child, Angela learned the importance of working and helping family. Angela’s parents emphasized to her and her siblings the importance of having an education. They referred to education as the vehicle to a productive life and the buffer to discrimination and oppression. In elementary school, Angela was very talented. She always made the honor roll. She loved reading and was frequently praised by her teachers. Her teachers recognized that she was destined to become a leader. Angela was born with Sickle Cell Anemia. Living with this disease inspired her to become a doctor. She studied the disease for over 20 years, discovering ways to prevent critical illness for thise with Sickle Cell and other genetic defects. She retired after 42 years in medicine, with over half that time spent in pediatrics.
Shirley A. Jackson, PhD
Shirley A. Jackson was born in Washington, D.C. on August 5, 1946. While growing up, Jackson’s parents strongly valued education and encouraged her while she was in school. During her time at Roosevelt High School, Jackson attended accelerated programs in both math and science. She graduated from Roosevelt High School as valedictorian in 1964. After graduation, she began classes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was one of less than 20 African American students, and the only African American student studying theoretical physics. During her attendance at MIT, she volunteered at the Boston City Hospital and tutored children at the local YMCA.
She earned her Bachelor’s degree in 1968, writing her thesis on solid-state physics. Jackson was accepted into Doctorate programs at Brown University, Harvard University, and the University of Chicago. Instead she decided to remain at MIT for her doctoral work....