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Book and Software Review
April 2003

Breaking the Color Line in Medicine: African Americans in Ophthalmology

Author Affiliations


Arch Ophthalmol. 2003;121(4):586. doi:10.1001/archopht.121.4.586-a

As the title suggests, this book is about African Americans in ophthalmology, but it discusses much more. "Part One: The History" consists of 14 chapters. Each chapter is short but saturated with information, and the reader obtains a sense of many of the major issues in African American history. Some of the chapters, particularly those related to the origins of ophthalmology, the rise and demise of black hospitals, the challenges and accomplishments of early African American physicians and ophthalmologists, and historical demographic data for medical schools and ophthalmology residencies, form a well-documented presentation of facts. In other chapters, the authors interpret the external forces shaping the role of African Americans in medicine in general and in ophthalmology in particular from their personal perspectives as an African American ophthalmologist and an African American educator. The relevance of each of these forces—the civil rights movement, racism, poverty, and affirmative action—for blacks in American medicine is convincingly communicated.