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History of Medicine

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Many histories have been written about medical care during the American Civil War, but the participation and contributions of African Americans as nurses, surgeons and hospital workers have often been overlooked. Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries: African Americans in Civil War Medicine looks at the men and women who served as surgeons and nurses and how their work as medical providers challenged the prescribed notions of race and gender.

Explore the exhibition online, use the educational resources in the classroom or find out if the traveling exhibition is coming to a local library near you.

Green horizontal line Their life-blood Homepage group image Black and white photograph of two African American women and one African American man standing in front of a United States Christian Commission storehouse in Washington, D.C., April 1865. Courtesy Library of Congress. Black and white photograph with gold border showing Anderson R. Abbott in a military union wearing a hat and gloves with one hand resting on a table beside him. Courtesy Toronto Public Library, Abbott Collection. Three-quarters length, standing, full face to left, black and white photograph of Susie King Taylor standing in a uniform wearing a head covering. change

Courtesy Massachusetts Commandery Military Order of the Loyal Legion and the U. S. Military History Institute.
Contraband who served with the 13th Massachusetts Infantry
c. 1863-1865
Courtesy Massachusetts Commandery Military Order of the Loyal Legion
and the U.S. Military History Institute

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there were loyal women, as well as men, in
those days who did not fear the shell or the shot, who cared for the sick and dying . . . — Susie King Taylor, nurse with the 33rd United States Colored Infantry

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Find Resources Blue arrow pointing right

Use these resources to explore primary source materials and the exhibition stories in the classroom.

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Explore the Exhibition Blue arrow pointing right

Learn about the African American men and women who served as surgeons and nurses during the American civil war.

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See it Near You Blue arrow pointing right

Find out if Binding Wounds, Pushing Boundaries will be near you.

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Last Reviewed: January 19, 2024