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Department of Women’s and Gender Studies

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7th Annual MBW Lecture Website Article

This April, the seventh annual Dr. Mary Baskin-Waters lecture was held in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. The lecture featured Dr. Vanessa Northington Gamble who gave the keynote presentation “Practicing Health Equity: The History of Early African American Women Physicians.”

In 2015, this lecture series was established eponymously by Dr. Mary Baskin-Waters, a member of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies teaching faculty. Dr. Baskin-Waters is also the founder of the Archiving South Carolina Women Fund in partnership with University Libraries, the Associate Editor of the Introduction to Women’s and Gender Studies 112 (2021) textbook, and a past chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies Partnership Council, among many other accomplishments. When reflecting on the 7th annual lecture of this lecture series, Dr. Baskin-Waters said, “[keynote speaker Dr. Gamble’s] work highlighting the important roles that African American Women physicians played in the development of our nation has inspired me from the first day I read her 1995 book, Making a Place For Ourselves: The Black Hospital Movement, 1920-1945.”

At the lecture, Dr. Gamble, a professor of Medical Humanities at the George Washington University, spoke about the pivotal yet widely unrecognized role of African American women physicians in advancing the healthcare of Black Americans. Through an analysis of the lives of African American women physicians who practiced in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Dr. Gamble discussed how, in the face of race and sex discrimination, these “sisters of a darker race” crafted careers that combined medicine, racial justice, and health equity activism.

The lecture also featured words of reflection from the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies Interim Chair Dr. Stephanie Mitchem, poet Ann Chadwell-Humphries, Nursing and Women’s and Gender Studies graduating senior Jayla Porcha, Professor of Higher Education and Associate Provost for Faculty Development Dr. Toby Jenkins, and Associate Dean for Special Collections and Director of the Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections Dr. Elizabeth Sudduth.

“Dr. Gamble is a genuine purveyor of warmth and her presence on our campus was embracing as well as enlightening. I am excited that she has committed to return to our campus to further research her South Carolina roots. She will always be welcomed in our midst.”

- Mary Baskin-Waters

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