African American Medical Recognition

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, African Americans made significant strides in building a pool of medical professionals. At the same time, W.E.B. Du Bois advocated that the highly educated African Americans were uniquely suited to help uplift the race and challenge the conditions of Jim Crow America.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
Identify and explain the contributions of African Americans in science and the arts.
Describe the development of African American institutions such as religion, education, and benevolent organizations.
Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning supported by relevant and sufficient evidence.
Analyze what a text says explicitly and draw inferences; cite the strongest, most compelling textual evidence to support conclusions.
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Learning objectives: 
  • Student will analyze photographs.
  • Students will construct arguments based on supporting evidence from text.
Essential and guiding questions: 

How did African Americans challenge segregation to make strides in the medical field? 

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 
  • Students can read more excerpts from “The Talented Tenth” for more writing prompts and discussion ideas.
  • Students can explore the Trials and Triumphs: Tennesseans Search for Citizenship, Community, and OpportunityWeb site to learn more about Tennessee’s history between the end of the American Civil War and the end of World War II.
  • Learn about the formation of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Students can explore the online Library of Congress exhibition NAACP: A Century in the Fight for Freedom to learn more about the organization and its impact.

Helpful Hints


  • Worksheet: “The Talented Tenth”
  • Writing Exercise: “Outcomes of Segregation”
  • Analyzing Primary Sources: Teachers Guide & student worksheet (or online)