The Duke University Medical Center Archives has acquired the papers of Dr. Onyekwere E. Akwari, the first African-American surgeon at Duke University. Dr. Akwari was recruited to Duke in 1978 by Dr. David C. Sabiston Jr, legendary Chair of the Duke Department of Surgery. Dr. Akwari was the first African-American faculty member in the Department of Surgery and the second African-American faculty member in the medical center hired to the tenure track. Dr. Akwari passed away on April 14, 2019.
The “Onyekwere E. Akwari Papers” collection includes personal documents from Dr. Akwari’s time in Abia State, Nigeria, and from his life in the United States after immigrating. Documents from his medical and educational career at Duke include publications, board materials, subject files, surgical slides, personnel and student files, correspondence, assorted uniforms, university regalia, Duke Athletics records, and images and recordings for university events. The collection also includes photographs, event and workshop programs, meeting transcripts, correspondence, and video recordings from the Society of Black Academic Surgeons for which Dr. Akwari was a founding member.
According to the Archives, “This collection should be of note to researchers interested in studying the development of surgical medicine and diversity efforts at Duke University, as well as the larger history of African-Americans in the United States medical field. This collection should also be of note to researchers interested in both studies of Nigeria and the African immigrant experience in the United States in the twentieth century.”
“Medical Center Archives Acquires Onyekwere E. Akwari Papers”
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