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HomeWa'appen18 students share their take on Black History Month

18 students share their take on Black History Month

By students of Lycée Robert Weinum

MARIGOT: Within the scope of Black History Month in February, 18 students from Terminale English Speaking Contemporary World Speciality (which is the highest level of English in the French System) wrote a press review about black health and wellness with the help of their teacher C. Lauga. The teaching objectives were: collaborative writing and editorial revision.

Each student researched one document and then presented it orally. 8 documents were then selected and in small groups they wrote a paragraph, as well as the Headline and the Deck. A collective revision allowed for reorganisation, analysing the contents and the angle. All language skills were targeted.


February is black history month. This year’s theme in the USA is Black Health and Wellness. Despite amazing Afro Americans participants in medical history, looking back through history, more progress is needed to tackle the inequalities Afro Americans still go through.

Dr. James McCune Smith was famously known for being a successful physician and great abolitionist and educator. He was the first African American to obtain a medical degree in 1837.

In 1883, Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first black female doctor in the US. She had to battle deep seated prejudice against women and African Americans in medicine.

On the 12th of September 1992, Mae Jeminson was the first African American woman to travel through space. Her journey to the stars was inspiring. She held multiple awards and degrees in biomedical engineering and worked as a medical doctor.

In the 19th century, the roots of medical racism were established by scientists and researchers. Scientific and medical texts provided the foundations that would mislead doctors as well as propagate harmful stereotypes that still plague medicine and science to this day, notably black people having a higher pain tolerance and black women being stereotyped as promiscuous.

In 1915 a nursing school for black nurses was created, which represented an important evolution. The Meharry medical college, hospital and training school, situated in Nashville, (Tennessee United States) was founded in order to facilitate black integration as well as educate the black community in the medical field, while much discrimination and economic disparities existed at the time.

In the past, the US used to refuse treatment to Afro American families because healthcare was mainly accessible to Caucasians. Today, some are refused treatment because they do not necessarily have health insurance as it is very expensive. These two ideas show that in the end there is still huge inequality in the medical system for Afro Americans despite the efforts of the government to eradicate it.
At the start of 2015, the United States ranked at the bottom on key health indicators like infant mortality and expectancy, the death rate for African-Americans remained 40% higher than whites. 50% had suffered from a chronic disease compared to 39% of the general population.

Since 2019, Covid-19 has impacted a high number of people of colour. The Black community has mostly been affected by this pandemic as they were discriminated against and received unfair treatment when they were seeking help. Due to these circumstances they had limited access. As a solution to this, Joe Biden moved up the deadline for states to make all adults eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine.

All in all, while acknowledging the many brilliant black scientists and researchers of the past and present, it’s vital to recognize the enormous amount of stigma that still needs to be eradicated.


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