The article below is a Guest Post contributed by Carol Ekster, author of Where Am I Sleeping Tonight? – A Story of Divorce.
My favorite inspirational movie was the HBO Movie, Something The Lord Made. It told the story of Vivien Thomas, a black man born in 1910. He wanted to become a doctor, but because of his race and the times, it wasn’t a possibility for him. He ended up taking a job working in a lab with Dr. Blalock, who is credited with making heart surgery a possibility.
Vivien Thomas worked with Dr. Blalock for 34 years, helping him every step of the way, never getting any of the credit. As a matter of fact, his job title was that of “janitor”, the only hospital job allowed a black man at that time. There was an award dinner celebrating Dr. Blalock, honoring him for his important medical contribution….which was an accomplishment that he and Thomas worked on together. But Thomas wasn’t even invited. Black men could only be waiters at that event. This is just one of the injustesses the movie highlighted.
Something The Lord Made pulled at my heart and touched me deeply. Unfairness of the treatment of blacks swelled within me for days, until I had to write about it. I had started writing children books a few years before I saw the movie. I began to do research to learn more about Vivien Thomas. Unfortunately, little was written about him. I even contacted the director of Cardiac Surgery at John Hopkins Medical Institutions who Vivien worked under. He was helpful in reading my manuscript, making corrections, and giving me a better sense of who Vivien was. Though the manuscript has not yet been purchased, I am hopeful and plan to persevere sending it out to publishers, as I feel strongly that children need to hear the story of Vivien Thomas.
This article is a Guest Post written by Carol Ekster. For more information about Carol, please visit www.CarolGordonEkster.com