More than 650,000 Americans died of disease or were killed in battle during the Civil War that lasted from 1861-1865. More might have died if not for the skills of African- American surgeons and nurses.
The Bruce T. Halle Library at Eastern Michigan University honors African-American medical personnel in its new exhibit, "Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine," which runs through June 23, on EMU's main campus in Ypsilanti. The exhibit is free and open to the public during library hours.
Developed by the National Library of Medicine, the exhibit explores the roles of African-American men and women, both free and formerly enslaved, who provided medical care to black soldiers and civilians.
The exhibit was very moving, says Eastern Michigan professor Heather Neff, an expert in African-American literature.
"It was a wonderful exhibit," Neff said. "I never knew this information."
Among the soldiers and nurses featured are:
Alexander T. Augusta who served from 1863 - 65. A free-born citizen from Norfolk, Virginia, he attended medical school in Canada. August became the first African-American surgeon-in-charge at the Contraband Hospital in Washington, D.C., which served former slaves.
Ann Stokes, a former slave, was hired as a nurse and worked under the director of nurses aboard the USS Red Rover. Stokes was the first African-American woman to serve on board a U.S. military hospital and the only one to draw a Navy pension.
John Van Surly De Grasse, was the only African American physician to serve on the field with his regiment, the 35th U.S. Colored Infantry. De Grasse was one of only two black physicians to receive a commission.
The traditional display is supplemented by a web site that contains information for teachers; the history of civil war medicine; African Americans who fought in the war; and a look at the flags on display.
The traveling exhibit was developed and produced by the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, with assistance from The Historical Society of Washington D.C.
by Pamela Young, Published June 04, 2012 Contact: Pamela Young firstname.lastname@example.org 734.487.4400 Eastern Michigan University Education First Ypsilanti, MI, USA 48197 University Information: 734.487.1849