This black doctor believes that it’s important to remember your heritage

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This is an older story, but the kind of story that needs to be told.  Dr. Carl Williams is one of the great professionals who should be highlighted in media ahead of the entertainers and athletes that we see every day.  It’s easier to become a doctor than an athlete, and the money can be pretty good too.  But also, Dr. Williams’ story is inspirational because he believes strongly in protecting the sense of history needed for black people to know their educational potential.  Read the story and tell us what you think.  It’s a good one. 

By PAUL HARASIM

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL

Sixty-three-year-old Dr. Carl Williams walks into North Vista Hospital carrying the first dollar he made more than 30 years ago as a hand surgeon.

The worn, wood container originally held, and still holds, the African-American physician’s first pair of surgical magnification glasses — lenses he purchased decades ago for $200, equipment he continues to wear in operating rooms throughout the Las Vegas Valley.

The pen his mother gave him as he started his career in medicine sits alongside the dollar bill and glasses. Taped to the box are patient identification adhesive labels, the kind of computer-generated tags patients wear around their wrists in the hospital.

On this day, Williams, one of the few doctors board certified in three specialties — ear, nose and throat as well as plastic and hand surgery — will perform a cosmetic eyelid procedure on a middle-aged woman.

The box, as it always does, goes with him to the operating theater.

“For me, it’s like the security blanket Linus always carries in the ‘Peanuts’ comic strip, it makes me comfortable,” Williams says. “It also keeps me humble. That dollar bill is from the $200 cash I got for a thumb surgery. Those patient IDs signify cases that make me remember that no matter how experienced you are, there are often unforseen challenges you must overcome for a great outcome. You can take nothing for granted.”

As he goes to work during this Black History Month, he gently reminds people of African-American pioneers in medicine, including Dr. Daniel Hale Williams (no relation), credited with the world’s first successful open-heart surgery, a procedure carried out in Chicago in 1893.

“It’s good that people are reminded of African-American heritage,” Williams tells a surgical technician. “We can keep misconceptions from taking hold.”

via African-American doctor’s upbringing pushes him to excel in three specialties | Las Vegas Review-Journal.

9 Comments

    • I think that it is very important that we remember our heritage and pass it down from generation to generation and others that do not know. As you can see there are many that do not want this to be none. school , colleges will not teach it and do not even want to discuss it they try to hide in many ways as they can. they only want you to know about the slavery part. I have been talking to some of the young guys in my community and now they are talking about it and love it, my nephews and nieces whenever they have to do any book report of black history, we search for those like Doctor, Carl Williams and any other like him even african kings and Queens, the Egyptians Pharaoh’s and how the Hatiians conquered Alexander the great, , black native American Indians, etc… just a few to mention. the only thing the we all know and stuck in our minds is slavery, being hung etc…. yes. here it is in a conversation everyday. Its very important. we even trade information that we find amongst each other.

  1. I agree with the Doctor about heritage. And not just BLACK heritage. Heritage and racial/ethnic identity are a very important part of a person’s entire identity, and in the case of a group which systematically had their identity stolen from them and denied throughout slavery and segregation, and even now … it’s all the more important. I am mixed race: Native American and Caucasian, and I remember when I first met my birth father from whom I get the Native ancestry. The minute I met and got to know this man, I felt whole. Complete. I can understand where this can be the case with today’s Black teenagers as well … trying to have a sense of identity and often not knowing exactly how to express it. To them I say look at the people like Dr. Williams and aspire to that kind of excellence. Don’t let Society’s negative influences ever slow you down either.

  2. Don’t forget the first Americans Were Africans or books like Imaro or Shades of Memnon that mix legacy, capitalism/industry/business with history. READ! BUILD! CO-OPERATE!

  3. Forgot to mention the world famous Hidden Colors series and 7AM the Documentary. Those are key as well.

  4. He is 100% right about remembering our history as Black people. He says he is aware of Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, the first person to successfully perform surgery on the human heart. I have produced the DVD about Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, titled: One Doctor: Daniel Hale Williams. Order it at amazon.com.
    Rex Barnett, King of Docs. Like us on facebook at: facebook.com/AfricanAmericanDvDsAboutPositiveNews.

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