||Attending the NLM African- American History Month exhibition opening were (from l) Mary Lindberg, wife of NLM director Dr. Donald Lindberg; NLM Education and Outreach Liaison David Nash; Barnett Memorial Exhibit creator Dr. Patrice Yarbough; special guest Charles Flowers; and NLM director Lindberg.
A Maryland man who made history helped the National
Library of Medicine open two special exhibitions celebrating
African-American History Month.
Charles Herbert Flowers, an original Tuskegee Airman, participated in the Feb. 4 opening.
“When I talk with him, it’s like talking with history,”
said Pierre McCannon, an NLM service support specialist and one of many employees who spoke with Flowers.
In 1941, Flowers signed up to become one of America’s first black military airmen. He was first in his class to fly solo and was the first African-
American military-trained flight instructor
at Tuskegee. Decades later, when Prince George’s County named a school after him, Flowers became the first living person to receive that honor.
NLM director Dr. Donald Lindberg and Education
and Outreach Liaison David Nash presented
Flowers with a certificate of appreciation for his service to the country and his participation in the library’s celebration.
One of the exhibitions celebrates the accomplishments
of another Tuskegee Airman who went on to break the medical school color barrier in Texas. Dr. Herman A. Barnett III was the first black graduate of a Texas medical
school, the first African-American member of the Texas state board of medical examiners and the first African American elected president
of the Houston Independent School District
board of trustees.
Barnett graduated from the University of Texas Medical Branch in 1953. Dr. Patrice Yarbough of UTMB created the Barnett memorial exhibition
and spoke at the NLM opening. “Dr. Barnett had fortitude,” she said. “His life is an example of what men and women of character
can accomplish.” Yarbough says the exhibition
is intended to encourage students to pursue
careers in science and medicine. The display travels to schools and libraries.
The other special exhibition is “Harlem: the Vision of Morgan and Marvin Smith.” It celebrates
the work of identical twin photographers who portrayed life in Harlem from the 1930s through the 1950s. The array of photographs includes shots of Maya Angelou during her days as a professional dancer, the wedding of Nat King Cole and Maria Ellington, and Jackie Robinson
and his son. The collection is part of the traveling exhibition program of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, which is a research library of the New York Public Library.
Both exhibitions will be on display in the lobby of the Lister Hill Center, Bldg. 38A, through Feb. 29.