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Ameenah Shakir
Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (Tallahassee, FL 32307-3102)
Helen Dickens and Medical Activism in Philadelphia, 1935-1980

Writing and additonal research for a book about the medical activism of Helen Dickens during the years of 1935 to 1980.

I am applying for a twelve month grant for full funding to complete additional research and revise dissertation chapters into a manuscript. Specifically, my project focuses on obstetrician and gynecologist Helen Dickens, an African American woman and dynamic champion for reproductive rights who worked alongside clubwomen to establish community maternal clinics, as well as desegregate medical schools and hospitals. A groundbreaking study, it pushes the perimeters of the literature on the history of African-American women's claims for citizenship to encompass the emergence of female demands for improved access to health care during the Great Depression and throughout the post-World War II period. African-American women's construction of health care reform in Philadelphia provides a necessary corrective to prior assumptions regarding a perceived dearth of physicians' civil rights efficacy. Based on previously untapped archival sources, my book project demonstrates that women's articulation of health care politics in the urban milieu not only challenges traditional temporal boundaries of civil rights advocacy it reinforces the current shift toward analyzing female agency within the medical field.

[Grant products][Media coverage]

Project fields:
African American History; History and Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Medicine; Women's History

Awards for Faculty

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2016 – 7/31/2017