▬ Leonidas Harris Berry
feb. 11th: leonidas harris berry
With a medical career lasting for about forty years, Leonidas Harris Berry worked hard to ensure medical, racial and economic equality for African-Americans. His expertise would be the study of the human stomach. He produced books, videos and pictures to explain, in depth, how the stomach worked. Berry also showed how other organs could be affected by digestive disorders and diseases.
Leonidas was also a pioneer for gastroscopy, a medical procedure in which doctors stick a tube from your mouth down through your esophagus and finally, to the stomach. There’s also a tiny flashlight, and an even tinier camera attached so that they can properly view the stomach.
He was also a lecturer, traveling great distances to teach others about the things he discovered. He did a big project in Africa, teaching in Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Liberia, and Sengal. He taught demonstrations on how to actually go about treating some of these stomach diseases in Japan, Korea, Hong-Kong, Philippines and Hawaii.
In 1970, he organizes and creates his own program called Flying Black Medics. The organization was destined to help poor black people living in Illinois, an area where simply being African-America got you little to no medical treatment at all. Berry’s great-grandparents had been slaves, his grandfather (on his dads side) had also been a slave. His grandfather ended up escaping slavery and moving up north.
The history of his enslaved ancestors greatly shaped his view on the world. He wanted equality for everyone, and knew that a lot of that began in the hospitals. He was ahead of his time, because instead of other doctors in his generation, he focused on the wellbeing of the patient first, and the race of the patient never.