A Pioneering Psychiatrist Whose Research Saved Black Lives

Solomon Carter Fuller
Shonda Buchanan
November 12, 2020

He felt the thrill of discovery shoot through his body as he looked through the microscope. He’d found it! 

He ran to the office, typed up his report, and rushed it to the post office. But would they listen to his groundbreaking discovery?

Grandson of former slaves, Solomon Carter Fuller not only struggled to become a respected psychiatrist, but was paid far less than colleagues and relegated to the morgue. Why?

Simple racism. Not only did his white colleagues arrogantly refuse to credit him for his discoveries in diagnosing Alzheimer’s, they also ignored diseases in Black soldiers returning from war. To them, Black bodies were just innately inferior to white bodies. But that wasn’t all.

Veterans at Fuller’s facility were being wrongfully misdiagnosed for side effects of syphilis, causing them to be denied military benefits even though they’d risked their LIVES fighting for our racist country! 

Because of his autopsies and expertise in brain diseases, Solomon’s discoveries could save the lives and livelihoods of countless Black soldiers. But would officials listen, or ignore Black pain like usual? 

He forcefully lobbied Congress for a change, forcing Washington, D.C. to act! Without Fuller’s ground-breaking discovery, thousands of our veterans would likely be impoverished or dead. 

If we challenge discriminatory practices, authority and systems like Fuller, we too can save Black lives. How are you challenging the system?

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