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Contribution to Book
Canada, Incubator of Black American Surgeons
Black surgeons and surgery in America (2021)
  • Vivian C. McAlister, The University of Western Ontario
  • Shannon Prince
  • Catherine Slaney
  • Don K. Nakayama
Canada was a haven for Blacks escaping the antebellum American South by way of the Underground Railroad. Sterling Allen Brown, professor of poetry at Howard University in the mid-20th century, noted that Canaan, the promised land of African American spirituals (“I’m on my way…up to Canaan land!”), stood for Canada, the land that promised freedom and a land of opportunity free from racial discrimination.1 Such was the case for many Blacks who became prominent figures in U.S. medicine and surgery. Some were born to Black Americans who escaped to Canada; others were free Blacks who went there to escape racist laws and social strictures in the United States. Several got their primary schooling at the remarkable Buxton Mission School, the first racially integrated school in North America. Canadian medical schools accepted Black Americans who were denied entry into schools in the United States. Here are biographical profiles of several prominent Black surgeons who were educated or practiced in Canada during their careers.
Publication Date
November, 2021
Don Nakayama
American College of Surgeons
Citation Information
Vivian C. McAlister, Shannon Prince, Catherine Slaney and Don K. Nakayama. "Canada, Incubator of Black American Surgeons" ChicagoBlack surgeons and surgery in America (2021)
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