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Celebrating Dr. W.M. Cobb

Celebrating the life and academic legacy of Dr. W.M. Cobb, the first Black man to earn a PhD in physical anthropology (1932) and the first person to be named Distinguished Professor of Anatomy at Howard University (1969). Throughout his career, Dr. Cobb inspired many through his work, advocacy, and mentorship.

This video was part of a panel discussion, where the ripple effect of Dr. Cobb's legacy in the fields of anthropology, anatomy, and medical illustration was presented and discussed by those directly impacted by it. This event was created by Black in Anatomy for Black in Anatomy Week 2021.

The American Association for Anatomy Webinar Recording

The American Association for Anatomy Morphological Sciences Award named for Dr. W.M. Cobb

"We aim to paint a more comprehensive picture of Dr. Cobb as a man who, from a small boy interested in animals, grew into not only an anatomist, but also a physician, teacher, mentor, writer, and activist for the rights of Black people."

Dr. Cobb loved the arts & used drawing in his teaching. He also influenced the careers of 3 medical illustrators. He mentored Anna Russell Jones & Naida Willette Page at Howard. Naida Page mentored Marsha Jessup.

Video References:

  1. Hayden RC, Jacqueline L. Harris. Nine Black Doctors. Addison-Wesley; 1976.

  2. Rankin-Hill LM, Blakey ML. W. Montague Cobb (1904-1990): Physical Anthropologist, Anatomist, and Activist. American Anthropologist. 1994;96(1):74-96. doi:10.1525/aa.1994.96.1.02a00040

  3. Scarupa HJ. W. Montague Cobb: His Long, Storied, Battle-Scarred Life. New Directions. 1988;15(2).

  4. Watkins, RJ. Knowledge from the Margins: W. Montague Cobb’s Pioneering Research in Biocultural Anthropology. American Anthropologist. 2007;109(1):186-196. doi:10.1525/aa.2007.109.1.186

  5. The Journal Covers. J Natl Med Assoc. 1981;73(Suppl):1189-1209.13.  (Note: Hand drawn covers were illustrated by Naida Willette Page)

  6. Cobb WM. Race and Runners. The Journal of Health and Physical Education. 1936;7(1):3-56. doi:10.1080/23267240.1936.10627128 

    1. See also: Cobb, W. Montague, "Race And Runners" (1936). Howard University Faculty Reprints. Paper 60.    

  7. Cobb WM. The Cranio-facial Union in Man. American Journal of Physical Anthropology. 1940;26(1):87-111. doi:10.1002/ajpa.1330260124

    1. See also: Cobb, W. Montague, "The Cranio-facial Union In Man" (1940). Howard University Faculty Reprints. 15.    

  8. Cobb WM. The Artistic Canons in the Teaching of Anatomy. J Natl Med Assoc. 1944;36(1):3-14. 

  9. Cobb WM. A Graphic Approach to a Compleat Anatomy. J Natl Med Assoc. 1946;38(5):155-163.

  10. Cobb WM. Discriminatory Patterns In Community Health Services (1948). Faculty Reprints. 20.  

  11. Cobb WM. Integration in Medicine: A National Need. J Natl Med Assoc. 1957;49(1):1-7. 

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