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NUHS celebrates Juneteenth with educational display at John F. Winterstein Library curated by BNMSA

by Jun 20, 2023

Home » News » NUHS celebrates Juneteenth with educational display at John F. Winterstein Library curated by BNMSA

In honor of the Juneteenth holiday, National University is recognizing the contributions of enslaved peoples and people of color to the advancement of modern health care in a display at the James F. Winterstein Library. 

In 2021, Juneteenth became nationally recognized as day of freedom for African American descendants of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. 

The display features a collection of over 40 resources including articles, books and videos that can help the NUHS community learn more about how people of color, especially African-American slaves, voluntarily and involuntarily, were responsible for many significant advances in healthcare such as herbal medicine, vaccination, women’s health and our current understanding of theories such as eugenics.

Auh’Yanna Crusoe, President of NUHS’ Black Naturopathic Medical Student Association (BNMSA), collaborated with Reference Librarian Russell Iwami on creating the Juneteenth display. On behalf of Black Naturopathic Medical Student Association (BNMSA), she specifically wanted the NUHS community to understand that Black history goes far beyond slavery and to invoke a change in their perspective/narrative; specifically on the African American community, in terms of medicine. 

“In the display, much of the information touches on medical practices performed during slavery and in fact are still being practiced to this day,” she said. “I have done much personal research on this very topic and have been able to track medical practices used by slaves to African long before the Transatlantic Slave Trade occurred.” 

The display includes a videocast on slavery and the development of U.S. Gynecology, a videocast on the legacies of slavery in the early eugenics movement, an article about how enslaved Africans were resourceful and reliable medical figures in the slave community and a book about the persistence of anti-Black racism and health disparities during and after the Civil War. 

The NUHS community can also learn about figures important to the anti-slavery movement like David Ruggles, an African-American abolitionist, writer, publisher and hydropathic practitioner, and Dr. James Durham, an eighteenth-century black physician. 

The display is available for viewing during library hours. 

Going forward, Mr. Iwami and BNMSA will continue to collaborate on research tailored specifically to the many contributions made by the descendants of the African Diaspora (meaning African Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, Afro-Latin Americans, Black Canadians, and even Native Americans) to medicine and Naturopathic medicine. They plan to display the research year-round versus at only one time of the year. 

According to Ms. Crusoe, the goal of the long-term project will be to bring awareness and accreditation to those of the African Diaspora who have carried traditional medical practices through dark times such as slavery and into the present day. She also wants to continue the work of those who have come before us by creating spaces for descendants of the diaspora to be inspired and reclaim their roots within the field of medicine. 

“I personally would like to provoke deep thought and challenge the perspectives of the NUHS community to expand their knowledge on what they may know about the history of medicine and to become well rounded and knowable medical professionals who can serve all to their highest capacity,” Ms. Crusoe said. 

The NUHS community can send in recommendations or additions to this collection by emailing [email protected] with Juneteenth in the subject line.   

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