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Celebrating Black History Month: Present and Past Pioneers

February 22, 2024

Dr. Eve Higginbotham ML’20 writes, “Recognizing the accomplishments of these pioneers affirms their value and reminds us of our own value that our own personal journeys bring to society every day.”

Dr. Eve Higginbotham ML'20 Dr. Eve Higginbotham ML'20At Penn Medicine, Dr. Eve Higginbotham ML’20 highlights the work and lives of inspirational Black individuals, including Dr. W.E.B. DuBois, Dr. James McCune Smith, Dr. Charles Drew, Dr. Jewel Plummer Cobb, former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, and Oprah Winfrey.

“[T]aking time to consider the accomplishments of others,” writes Higginbotham, “may infuse the necessary energy to endure the challenges we face in our professional and personal journey.”

Higginbotham is the inaugural Vice Dean for Inclusion and Diversity of the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, a position she assumed on August 1, 2013. She is also a Senior Fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics and Professor of Ophthalmology. She graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School with a Master in Law degree in 2020.

From Penn Medicine:

Traditionally, Black History Month is a time when we celebrate lists of individuals who have overcome challenges and meaningfully contributed to the advancement of our society. There are many iconic individuals whose lives significantly enriched the societal aspirations for a better world. As we all strive to achieve similar goals, there are barriers that we continuously face that may seem unresolvable. Thus, taking time to consider the accomplishments of others, may infuse the necessary energy to endure the challenges we face in our professional and personal journey.

This year’s celebration takes on added importance given the current state of our national culture and the geopolitical uncertainties which are actively impacting us globally. As we review the narratives of heroes now and the past, we may find solace as we take in the breadth of their accomplishments and inspiration from all the barriers they overcame. While it is not possible to interview all of those listed, at the very least there may be a personal connection when viewing the selected portraits shared in this article… . 

Read the full piece at Penn Medicine.