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  • Writer's pictureJill Newmark

It's In Print!

Without Concealment, Without Compromise is Published

Today is the official publication date for my new book, Without Concealment, Without Compromise: The Courageous Lives of Black Civil War Surgeons that explores the lives and service of Black Civil War surgeons. After many years and many long days of research, writing, editing, and proofing, the book is finally in print and I can't be more excited to bring these stories to the public!

book cover for Without Concealment, Without Compromise: The Courageous Lives of Black Civil War Surgeons

In 2007, I was in the midst of co-curating an exhibition on African American academic surgeons for the National Library of Medicine. The display was conceived as a way to provide a perspective on African Americans in medicine and help advance the diversity of exhibitions at the library. While conducting research for it, I stumbled across a pioneering Black physician named Alexander T. Augusta, who in 1868, was the only Black professor among the first five professors in the newly formed medical department at Howard University in Washington, D.C. His accomplishment piqued my curiosity and led me to discover that Augusta had also been the first African American commissioned medical officer in the U.S. Army and had served as a surgeon during the American Civil War. I wondered what other African Americans had served as surgeons during that war.

Augusta launched me on a journey of discovery that uncovered the hidden stories of thirteen other pioneering Black physicians who, like Augusta, had served as medical professionals during the Civil War. As I delved deeper into my research over the years leading up to the creation of my book, I found records, images, and letters that had languished in archives and repositories around the country. I was reminded how the contributions and accomplishments of African Americans are too often overlooked and undervalued, and I was committed to bringing these important and inspirational stories into the light.

Image of a Civil War hospital camp flanked by two portraits of Black surgeons.

Without Concealment, Without Compromise explores the individual stories of Alexander T. Augusta, who challenged discriminatory laws; William P. Powell Jr., who pursued a military pension for twenty-five years; Anderson R. Abbott, a friend of Elizabeth Keckley’s; John Van Surly DeGrasse, the only Black surgeon to serve on the battlefield; John H. Rapier Jr., an international traveler; Richard H. Greene, the only Black surgeon known to have served in the Navy; Willis R. Revels, a preacher and physician; Benjamin A. Boseman, a politician and postmaster; and Charles B. Purvis, who taught at Howard University. Five other men broke educational barriers by attending medical schools in the United States including Yale graduate Cortlandt Van Rensselaer Creed, Dartmouth Graduate William B. Ellis, and Alpheus W. Tucker, Joseph Dennis Harris, and Charles H. Taylor all graduates of Keokuk Medical College.

Learn more about these courageous and inspirational surgeons in Without Concealment, Without Compromise: The Courageous Lives of Black Civil War Surgeons. Buy your copy now at Amazon, Southern Illinois University Press and use SIUP20 for a 20% discount, and other fine bookstores.

© Jill L. Newmark 2023

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