Transcribe your podcast

You finally decided to learn how to ice skate, so you ordered the essentials, every ice skater needs a pair of blades, a new helmet and a good set of kneepads. And you used your Bank of America cash rewards, credit card, choosing to earn three percent cash back on online shopping rewards that you put towards the cost of an essential piece of post skating recovery. A heating pad visit Bank of America. Dotcom's more rewarding to apply now. Copyright 2020 Bank of America Corp.


. Looking for a new podcast you do not want to miss under the influence. I'm your host, Jo Piazza, and I'm taking you into the depths of the mom Internet, a place that preys on some new mothers while also minting millionaires.


Instagram ruins women for a time. Influencers certainly feel the pressure. How could I have a baby and not share it? I'll come to my Instagram. It's not for influences. It's from the influences.


Join me to dive down this rabbit hole and find out how the commodification of motherhood is driving a lot of us to the edge of our sanity. Listen to Under the Influence with Jo Piazza on the I Heart radio app or wherever you get your podcasts.


Welcome to Stuff You Missed in History Class A production of I Heart Radio. Hello and welcome to the podcast. I'm Tracy Wilson. And I'm Holly Fry.


I have a weekly virtual lunch with a friend of mine and sometimes one of us basically briefs the other woman on whatever project we are working on right now. And when we were talking about this week's episode, I started out saying something like he was a physical anthropologist who did a lot of work to debunk the racist theories of other anthropologists. And then later on in this conversation, I said something like on top of being an anthropologist, he was an activist and did all kinds of work to desegregate hospitals and advocate for the passage of the Medicare bill.


And then later on, it was like, oh, and he was also an anatomy professor at Howard. So he was teaching anatomy to a whole generation of black doctors and dentists. And at that point, my friend said, wait, how can one person do that much? And that's correct. That is a lot. And that on top of that, that three completely different things. Montague Cobb put out a sheerly enormous volume of work. He was also the first black person in the United States to earn a Ph.D. in anthropology.


He was the only black American working at that level in the field for decades. And he wrote prolifically about anthropology and racial equity and medical history and on and on.


So Heasley, we're talking about today and William Montague Cobb was born in Washington, D.C. on October 12th, 1984. He was known to his friends and family as Montay. His mother was Alexian Montague Cobb and she was born in Washington, D.C., but her parents were from Massachusetts. Several sources note that she had indigenous ancestry. In our episode on Paul Cuffy, we talked about how marriages between African and indigenous people were common in Massachusetts in the 18th century.


But beyond that, there really wasn't clear detail that Tracy was able to dig up on Alex's family history and her her her providence in that regard. So Manti's father, William Elmore Cobb, was originally from Selma, Alabama, and he had moved to the Washington, DC area at the end of the 19th century to work at the Government Printing Office. Eventually, he started his own business as a printer before the young Montee started school. His mother, who had been a schoolteacher, taught him the basics of reading, writing and math.


And the family also attended 15th Street Presbyterian Church. One of Monty's childhood fascinations was a book that belonged to his grandfather. This book included illustrations of people of different races and ethnicities, and they were shown in traditional forms of dress. And he was really struck by how all these different people from all around the world were drawn, as he described them, quote, With equal dignity. Cobb attended segregated public schools in Washington, D.C., and for high school, he attended Paul Laurence Dunbar High.


When we've talked about school segregation before, we have often talked about huge disparities in funding resources and instructional quality with schools for white children typically having more of everything, more money, better facilities and white teachers who were also vastly better paid than their black counterparts. And while segregation was still fundamentally discriminatory, Dunbar was something of an exception to this pattern. Yeah, Dunbar had been established in 1870. It was the first public high school for black students in the United States, and by the time Cobb attended, it had a reputation as a truly elite school.


It was the best high school for black students in the U.S. It was one of the best public high schools in the country. Overall, many of the faculty had advanced degrees, although this was often because they were kept out of university positions because of their race. Some of the faculty at Dunbar were actually alumni who had gone on to graduate school and then had come back to Dunbar to teach. The teachers pay was also equivalent to that of white teachers in Washington, D.C. public schools, but not necessarily that of people with the same degree who were working in another area.


Besides being schoolteachers.


As an academic high school, Dunbar tried to prepare its students to attend college, and recent graduates were often invited back to the school to talk to current students about their colleges and universities. Some of the students who came back to Dunbar while Cobb was there had gone on to Amherst College in Massachusetts. After Cobb graduated from Dunbar in 1921, he went on to get a bachelor's degree at Amherst. He was one of four black students in his class there.


covid done really well at Dunbar and that continued at Amherst. In addition to excelling at his academic work, he was also a gifted athlete. He ran cross-country and he boxed. That was actually something he had taught himself out of a book as a teenager for the sake of self-defense. He won intramural championships and both cross-country and boxing before graduating from Amherst in 1925, thanks to his strong academic performance in biology, Cobb earned Amherst's Harvey Blodgett scholarship, which allowed him to continue his studies at Woods Hole Marine Biology Laboratory on Cape Cod at Woods Hole.


Cobb worked under Dr. Ernest Everett, just just was an experimental embryologist who was also on the faculty at Howard University. KOBS Research work at Woods Hole included observing fertilization and embryonic development of marine animals under a microscope and taking detailed notes and sketching what he had observed from there. Cobb decided to pursue a degree in medicine at Howard University, and his motivation for this was, in his words, quote, I just felt a doctor was respected and made sick people well to earn money for his tuition.


He spent his summers working as a waiter on a Great Lake Steamship, as well as harvesting grain in Saskatchewan and Howard, he joined the omega sci fi fraternity. And in 1926, he helped establish the fraternities Kappa PSI chapter for students at the university's professional schools, including its medical school. He continued to excel academically, and in his last year of medical school, he was invited to teach a course in embryology based on his academic performance and his earlier work at Woods Hole, Cobh earned his M.D. from Howard in 1929.


That same year, he married Hilda B. Smith. They would go on to have two daughters, Carolyn and Hilda. Amelia, who would be known as Amelia Cobh, completed his internship at Howard University Hospital, which at the time was known as the Freedman's Hospital. He passed his board exams and he got a license to practice medicine and surgery in 1930. But Cobb's experience teaching that embryology course had also shifted his focus for his career. He decided that instead of becoming a practicing doctor, he would become a teacher, teaching other people to become doctors, dentists and surgeons.


This goal aligned very well with Howard's goals as a black university. Although most of the medical students at Howard were black, most of the faculty were white and they were working part time. Mordecai Johnson, who was Howard University's first black president, thought that its student body would be better served if there were more full time black professors. But this really presented a challenge. The university was training black doctors, but there really were not many black people who were qualified to fill these teaching roles.


So the university decided to invest in its own graduates and to prepare them to teach at the medical school pneuma PJI. Adams was dean at the medical school at Howard. Like Mordecai Johnson, he was the first black person to fill that role. Cobb was one of the medical school alumni Adams selected for this effort. Cobb chose anatomy as his focus for further study because, in his words, quote, Anatomy is the kindergarten of medicine. He didn't mean that anatomy was an easy playtime, but instead that it was the foundation on which the study of medicine rested.


He went on to Western Reserve University that is now Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, to study both anatomy and physical anthropology. We will talk about that after a sponsor break. We're all shopping for essentials online these days, and now you can get rewarded for it with the Bank of America cash rewards credit card, you can choose to earn three percent cashback on online shopping essentials. The essentials have never felt more rewarding. Visit Bank of America more rewarding to apply now.


Copyright 2020 Bank of America Corp.. You decided to upgrade your outdoor deck, so you ordered the essentials a power washer, a set of patio chairs and a shiny new grill. And you used your Bank of America cash rewards credit card, choosing to earn three percent cash back on online shopping or up to five point twenty five percent as a preferred rewards member, which you put towards the cost of your most essential deconditioned. A bird feeder apply for yours at Bank of America.


Dotcom Slash More Rewarding. Copyright 2012. Bank of America Corp.. Anthropology is the study of humanity, and today the field of physical anthropology is largely focused on human evolution, including genetic research into humans and our hominid ancestors. But in the early years of the field, when it was very first branching off from the related field of anatomy, physical anthropology was largely focused on researching human development and human diversity through the study of the human body. And a lot of that research tried to categorize humanity into different races.


One of the earliest figures in this research was German anthropologist Johann Friedrich Blumenberg, who is sometimes called the father of physical anthropology. His study of human anatomy, particularly the cranium, led him to propose that all of humanity could be divided into five races. And he defined those races as Caucasian, Mongolian Mulayam Ethiopian and American. In the US, physician and anthropologist Samuel Morton started collecting skulls meant to represent each of those races, and he started doing that in 1830.


This work led him to build a huge collection of skulls, measuring them and drawing conclusions based on those measurements. A lot of this work was explicitly racist in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Many, but certainly not all physical anthropologists used measurements of the human body not just to try to sort people into categories by race, but also to rank those categories according to their superiority or their worth. Morton, for example, used his cranial measurements to try to prove that white people were superior to all other races.


Czech anthropologist Alice Hrdlicka, who worked primarily in the United States, is regarded as one of the founders of the field of physical anthropology in the U.S. And he also supported the idea that white people, specifically white men, were superior and that physical anthropology as a field could prove that superiority and outlier in all of this was Thomas Wingate Todd, professor of anatomy at Western Reserve University Medical School. Todd's own work in anatomy and physical anthropology led him to conclude that race did not influence brain development and that the racist conclusions his colleagues had drawn from things like skull measurements were baseless.


His research suggested that physiological differences that fell along demographic lines were due to social and environmental conditions, not to innate race related traits that conferred some kind of superiority. He was deeply critical of her, like his conclusions about the supremacy of white men.


Thomas Wingate Todd was also William Montague, Cobb's mentor at Western Reserve University and his Ph.D. thesis advisor. While at Western Reserve, Cobb worked at the Hammond Museum of Comparative Anatomy and Anthropology, and he embarked on a massive survey of the skeletal collections that were available for anthropological research. This included the Hammond Todd Collection at Western Reserve and collections that were held at the U.S. National Museum, which is now the Smithsonian. The curator of the collection at the National Museum was a year Lechuga as a side note in his later years.


Cobb speculated on why Todd, who as we said was his thesis advisor, had sent him to work under Hrdlicka on this project in spite of knowing about that man's racist views. One reason was just physical proximity, since the National Museum's collection was in Washington, D.C., where Cobb lived and had lived for almost all of his life. But Cobb also concluded that another reason was that Todd just wanted to see how Hrdlicka would square kobs intelligence and academic excellence with his views of people with African ancestry as inferior.


Although Cobb describes her Lisker as generally treating him with outward respect, he also describes him as, quote, inventing a reason why he was different from other black people that in her lynchers were kobs quote vigar stemmed from his multiracial ancestry.


Cobb finished his Ph.D. in anatomy and physical anthropology in 1932 that made him the first black man in the United States to earn a Ph.D. in the field of anthropology. His dissertation was published the following year under the title Human Archives and in addition to it, detailing the research collections in Cleveland and in Washington, D.C.. This dissertation also surveyed methods for documenting, processing and preserving these types of collections. So Cobb's goal with this dissertation was not just to meet the requirements for his Ph.D. it was also to give him the foundational knowledge that he would need to establish such a research collection at Howard.


As we said earlier, the field of physical anthropology was brand new at this point. It was so new that the first meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists that Cobb attended was only the second one ever to have been held. And Cobb was really the only black voice in the field until the 1950s.


After completing his Ph.D., Cobb returns to Howard as planned, although he often spent summers working with the collections at Case Western and at the Smithsonian. He also did extensive research into the human cranium and connections between the bones of the cranium and the bones of the face. He drew conclusions about how these bones grew and developed over the course of a person's life. One of his discoveries in this research related to the closure of the craniofacial sutures at the time, one method that researchers used to determine age when they were analyzing a person's remains was to analyze the closure of the sutures of the cranium.


And Cobb concluded that this just wasn't a reliable method because the range of biological factors could affect the way a person's sutures closed at Howard. Cobb spent the next few years both teaching anatomy and establishing the university's laboratory of anatomy and physical anthropology. His work involved preserving the skeletons that had been part of anatomy students cadaver labs, as well as keeping meticulous records involving their medical history and demographic data. Cobb continued preserving. Skeletons for this collection until 1965 for a total of nine hundred eighty seven sets of skeletal remains.


He also took X-rays, medical records and demographic data from more than 900 living persons to add to the collection. The W. Montague Cobb Research Laboratory still exists at Howard today, as does this collection. And in terms of skeletal collections, it's unique, along with the remains from the New York African burial ground that are also at Howard. The Cobb Collection is the only such collection of skeletal remains housed at a historically black university. And it's also unique in terms of the skeletons themselves.


They represent the skeletal remains of people who donated their bodies to the university or that the university purchased. So overwhelmingly. They represent black residents of Washington, D.C., who died between 1931 in 1965. So in addition to what they represent in terms of the study of human anatomy, physiology and anthropology, they also represent a source of information specifically about the black population of Washington, D.C. over more than three decades. In 1942, Cobb became a full professor at Howard, and in 1949 he was named chair of the anatomy department.


That's a role that he held until 1969. As a professor, he became known for taking an interdisciplinary approach to the subject. He recited poetry to illustrate concepts, and he played the violin while students worked on their dissections. He also thought basic skills in drawing were critical to studying anatomy, that understanding proportions and representations would give students a fuller understanding of the human body. Students would draw a human figure and its skeletal structure, then fill in the remaining anatomical features layer by layer.


So this method of anatomical study through drawing was popular in anatomy classrooms at the start of Cobb's career. But by the 1960s it had really fallen out of favor. And in 1969, first year medical students at Howard launched a protest against Cobb, both as an anatomy professor and as the chair of the Department of Anatomy. Students felt that his anatomy classes were too theatrical and too free form, and they were not focused on preparing them to pass their board exams.


Whereas is to me, I'm like, you get to learn art with your science. That's amazing.


Clearly different priorities.


Although Cobb was removed from his position as department chair after this. Fifty eight members of the faculty signed a petition protesting this removal. In the end, Cobb was named Howard's first distinguished professor. That's a role he held until 1973 when he reached the school's mandatory retirement age of 70. A dinner held in his honor that year was attended by many of the same people who had protested against him in 1969, students who were now in their last year of medical school, according to Cobb's colleague Charles Eppes, who would later be named dean of the medical school.


By this point, many of the students felt that they hadn't been entirely fair to Cobb in their earlier protest.


Yeah, there was also some discussion that he was sort of the most the most high profile person in the medical school. And so it made him an easy target for students. He sort of felt the whole medical school system was too paternalistic and became like an emblem of all of the frustrations of the students at the time. After his retirement, though, Cobb held the title of distinguished professor emeritus and he continued working at 12 other colleges and universities by doing guest professorships by Cobb's own count.


He taught anatomy to as many as 6000 medical and dental students, most of whom were black over the course of his career.


And we're going to talk about his work outside the anatomy classroom after we first pause for a sponsor break. You finally decided to learn how to ice skate, so you ordered the essentials, every ice skater needs a pair of blades, a new helmet and a good set of kneepads. And you used your Bank of America cash rewards, credit card, choosing to earn three percent cash back on online shopping rewards that you put towards the cost of an essential piece of post skating recovery.


A heating pad visit Bank of America. Dotcom's more rewarding to apply now. Copyright 2020 Bank of America Corp.. You're ready to get back into yoga, so you ordered the essentials, a non-slip mat, yoga blocks to keep balance and an exercise ball, and you used your Bank of America cash rewards, credit card, choosing to earn three percent cash back on online shopping or up to five point twenty five percent as a preferred rewards member, which you put towards the cost of your most essential yoga gear.


Noise canceling headphones apply for yours at Bank of America. Dotcom Slash More Rewarding. Copyright 20-20 Bank of America Corp.. Before the break, we talked about how when W. Montague Cobb first entered the field of physical anthropology, a lot of people in that field were promoting racist views and drawing racist conclusions in their work. Thomas Wingate Todd, who was Cobb's doctoral advisor, was one of the people pushing back against the scientific racism. Another was Julian Herman Lewis.


Lewis pointed out that a lot of anatomical research that existed at the time focused only on white subjects but did not actually say so. So the subjects of a particular piece of research would be described with something like, quote, normal, healthy males. But they were really only white people. Lewis 1942 book The Biology of the Negro picked apart the idea that black Americans were somehow biologically inferior. But that book didn't really get widespread recognition. There was also Franz Boas, who is sometimes called the father of American Anthropology.


And to be clear, his work was not without fault. He robbed indigenous peoples burial sites in order to collect remains to study and also sell. But he also really stressed that human beings were fundamentally biologically equal with the differences among them being due to historical, environmental and developmental factors. And of course, there was also W. Montague Cobb himself throughout his career in every area he worked in, he was deeply focused on dispelling racist ideas and trying to ensure racial equality, especially for black Americans.


He didn't try to dispel the idea of race in general, but he did emphasize humanity's diversity and the social and historical factors that contributed to that diversity. Rather than framing race as biologically determined with some races inherently superior to others, KOBS most high profile work to debunk racism through anthropology followed the 1936 Olympic Games held in Berlin, Germany. That's the Olympic Games at which Jesse Owens earned four gold medals. We actually are going to replay that episode as the Saturday Classic coming up soon.


Sometimes people interpret Owen's exceptional performance as undermining Adolf Hitler's vision of Aryan supremacy. But really there was a lot of discussion about Owens wins at the Olympic Games that was used to back up the racist assertion that his athletic performance was due to his race and that black people's purportedly innate athletic abilities came at the expense of their intellectual abilities. And this was not just a belief that was circulating within the world of physical anthropology. It quickly made its way into mainstream writing about athletics and race.


Cobb worked to debunk this assertion, examining and taking X-rays of runners, including Owens himself. In 1936, he published Race and Runners, which began with an overview of recent performance by black runners before detailing other shifting demographic trends that had played out over the history of the sport. He analyzed runners physical characteristics and their performance. He noted that Owens had several physical traits that were purportedly more common in white runners, not the traits supposedly unique to black runners.


That would have, according to that widely circulated theory, given him an advantage.


He concluded, quote, No particular racial or national group has ever exercised a monopoly or supremacy in a particular kind of event. The popularity of different events with different groups of people has and probably will always vary, though not necessarily in the same direction. He went on to say, quote, The physics of champion Negro and white sprinters in general and of Jesse Owens in particular, revealed nothing to indicate that Negroid physical characters are anatomically concerned with the present dominance of Negro athletes in national competition.


In the short dashes and the broad jump, there is not a single physical characteristic which all the Negro stars in question have in common, which would definitely identify them as Negroes. Cobb wrote other articles on the subject over the course of the next decade and more, including ones that were published in popular magazines. For example, in Negro Digest in 1947, he wrote, quote, Science has not revealed a single trait particular to the Negro alone to which his athletic achievements could be attributed.


In 1939, Cobb published The Negro as a biological element in the American population that was published in the Journal of Negro Education. And this was a broad look. At black Americans, from an anthropological perspective, he wrote, quote, in the United States today, law and custom decree that any citizen who is known to have African blood, however diluted, is a Negro. Consequently, from American Negroes, individuals may be selected who might serve as examples of nearly every physical type in the world, from West African to Nordic.


He also concluded that this diversity was temporary because in most of the U.S., intermarriages between black and white people were either socially taboo or legally banned. He thought over time, the country's black population would become more homogenous.


Of course, those laws and social norms have certainly shifted in the decades since he wrote that paper that we have a two part episode on Loving versus Virginia, which is the Supreme Court decision that struck down antimiscegenation laws. For more on that. So so far, this might all sound pretty academic and there is value in debunking racist ideas, especially considering that these ideas made their way into things like mainstream magazines and high school anatomy and physiology textbooks. I feel like we have read from such textbooks in previous episodes of the show that repeat these same basic ideas.


But Cops work also focused on things that you might describe as more immediately practical, like integrating the American medical system. Cobb felt that the country segregated medical system was harming people of every race. In much of his work, Cobb noted that indigenous, Asian and Hispanic and Latino patients were often treated similarly to black patients. But overall, his work was more focused on the needs of black people than on these other groups. In Cobb's view, discrimination was slowing medical progress and lowering the quality of care for everyone, but especially for black patients.


It was also restricting opportunities for black doctors. After the 1910 Flexner Report. Maharey and Howard, which we've talked about before, were the only black medical schools. And up until the 1940s, black doctors could only do their residencies and a handful of black hospitals. Afterward, they could only work in those same hospitals or in private practice, and this was holding back the entire medical field. So Cobb started this integration work in the 1940s by advocating for black doctors to be accepted on staff at white hospitals and to be allowed admission into whites only professional societies.


This included the Medical Society of the District of Columbia and the American Medical Association. There had been other organizations established for black doctors because of this exclusion that included the Medical Surgical Society of the District of Columbia that had been established for black physicians in 1884 and the National Medical Association, which was established in 1895. He also wrote specifically about workplace and social factors that affected black nurses, noting that black people had historically performed critical and often dangerous and unpleasant work during emergencies like wars and disease outbreaks, but then were denied the dignity of the title nurse because of their race.


He traced that history through to nursing schools and professional associations, excluding black people. In 1957, Cobb helped organized the first Imhotep National Conference on Hospital Integration, which was focused on integration all through the hospital system. The patients, the staff, the administration, the residents and interns that teaching hospitals, all of it. This conference was named for Imhotep, who was advisor to the Third Dynasty, Fero Jaser. We've talked about on the show before and later was worshiped as an Egyptian god of medicine.


This conference was sponsored by the National Medical Association's Council on Medical Education and Hospitals by the NAACP National Health Committee and by the Medical Surgical Society of the District of Columbia. It was held annually until 1963.


The conference became less necessary after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which Cobb had aggressively supported. Title six of the act reads, quote, No person in the United States shall on the ground of race, color or national origin be excluded from participation in be denied the benefits of or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. Then another law that Cobb supported made that title apply to hospitals all over the country. That was the Social Security Act amendments also called the Medicare and Medicaid Act of 1965.


Basically, Medicare provided hospital insurance. And medical insurance to people aged 65 and older and Medicaid provided medical assistance for people with low incomes. So the passage of Medicare and Medicaid meant that essentially every hospital in the United States would be accepting federal financial assistance. In other words, together, the Medicaid bill and the Civil Rights Act essentially made hospital segregation illegal nationwide. This was one of the reasons the American Medical Association had opposed the Medicare bill. In fact, the only member of a professional medical society who had openly supported Medicare was W.


Montague Cobb.


Cobb endorsed the bill and testified on its behalf before Congress when President Lyndon Johnson signed the legislation. Cobb was invited to witness the signing, and this was not the first time that Cobb had so publicly opposed the AMA.


Back in 1946, he had testified before Congress in favor of the National Health Act, which would have created a national health insurance plan. Cobb endorsed the bill on behalf of the NAACP before Congress, and he described the bill as having the potential, quote, to close the gap between advances in medical technology on the one hand and the social and economic arrangements by which medical services are made available on the other. In his testimony, he described health conditions in the U.S. as, quote, far from satisfactory with, quote, the plight of the Negro worse than that of the white.


The AMA opposed this legislation and inaccurately branded it socialized medicine. It ultimately failed. KOBS advocacy for black doctors and other black professionals also extended beyond their day to day working environments. In 1955, the American Association for the Advancement of Science held its conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Cobb vigorously opposed this choice of venue because Atlanta's hotels were segregated. The AAFES worked out a compromise, which was for black attendees to be allowed into the host hotels for meetings but not as overnight guests.


Instead, they would stay at Atlanta University. Cobb boycotted the meeting, and the next year the AAPS implemented anti segregation policies for its conference locations.


Like a lot of the compromises we've talked about on the show, it's not really a compromise. And the people it was offered to were like, Are you kidding me? Cobb advocated for the same change at the American Association of Anatomists two years later. In 1965, he traveled to Selma, Alabama, to support the physicians who had volunteered to offer aid during the Selma to Montgomery march. These are really just some of the biggest highlights of Montague Cobb's career.


He served as president of the Medical Surgical Society of the District of Columbia from 1945 to 1947 and then again from 1951 to 1954. He served as editor of the Journal of the National Medical Association for 28 years, starting in 1949. And during that time he helped expand it from a temporary publication of the enemy to a respected medical journal. In 1957, he was named president of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. He served in that role for two years.


In 1965, he served on the executive committee of the White House Conference on Health. He was the executive president of the NAACP from 1976 to 1983, and he was on the NAACP board for 31 years. Over the course of his career, he wrote more than 1100 papers in his field, as well as a series of 200 biographies of black doctors. And for most of that time, he also taught anatomy and shared the anatomy department at Howard University.


I am exhausted just reading that list so much. Cobb's wife, Hilda, died in 1976. They had been married for 47 years. A year later, Cobb played the role of Web Dubois in a production called Without a Doubt at the Kennedy Center. This production was something his daughter, Amelia Cobb Gray had compiled and directed, and this was his stage debut. In 1980, Cobb was awarded the Henry Gray Award from the American Association of Anatomists, which is its highest award.


Cobb continued his advocacy into his very last years in 1982. The YMCA planned to close its Anthony Bow and branch in Washington, D.C., and this was in Cobb's childhood neighborhood and it had also been the first branch that the YMCA had established for black members. Cobb argued vocally against this closure, both because of the branch's historical significance and because the neighborhood itself was desperately in need of recreation and other services. The YMCA ultimately agreed not to close the branch, but it did move it into a different facility, citing the original buildings disrepair.


In 1990, Debbie Montague Cobb was awarded the American Medical Association Distinguished Service Award. He died on November 20th of that same year at the age of 86. In his own words, quote, When I go down, I hope I'll go down. Still pushing for something in the forward direction that is mind blowing levels of achievement.


I feel so lazy. Do you also have listener mail for us? I do.


I have listener mail that's not about this episode, but it's germane to this episode and it is from Samantha. And Samantha says, Hi, Holly and Tracey. First of all, I want to preface this email by saying what a big fan I am of the show. I love how y'all highlight underrepresented voices and stories from the past. That being said, I think that something y'all said or more specifically didn't say in a recent episode bears attention and the episode John Dalton's Anomalous Color Vision.


Y'all mentioned a study that demonstrated the differences in rates of color deficient vision between the sexes. I appreciated that y'all noted the difference between gender and sex, saying that gender does not always correspond to one's assigned sex at birth and neither does science. Sex at birth always correspond to one's chromosomal sex, which is the actual determining factor in this particular situation. Unfortunately, all did not extend the same nuance to the study's treatment of race. Race is just as socially constructed as gender is, and in my opinion, only talking about one but not the other created the implication that race is biological.


This false notion that race is biological is something that many scholars and advocates have been pushing against for a long time. As I'm sure you both know, the categories that humans construct as races are largely arbitrary and have little to do with biology. For example, a person labeled black in that study could have had a majority of their ancestors be European, while a person labeled as Hispanic or Latino could have a wide range of African, European and Native American ancestry.


Therefore, saying a trait is more or less common and different racial groups says little about whether that difference is actually meaningful or associated with any differences in ancestral populations. In my opinion, it's dangerous to present studies such as these without the context of the social construction of race, as doing so can create the false impression that dividing humans into racial groups is somehow natural. Again, huge fan of the show. I just wanted to raise this issue so you can keep this in mind for any future episodes touching on genetics or any other issues involving scientific uses of race.


On a related note, I think that an episode on Franz Boas would be a great way to explore this. The complexity surrounding his dedication to fighting scientific racism while simultaneously being pretty inconsiderate of how his methods impacted Native Americans is something worth discussing. Sincerely, Samantha. Thank you for this email, Samantha. Usually not 100 percent of the time. You and I pick listener mail based on like who researched the episode. And this was one that you researched, but I was the one that made the comment.


So I picked it out for that reason because I raised the point about the study being about sex and not gender, just because I wanted it to be clear what we were talking about. Right. And we had talked about how that would have potentially shifted had that that study, which is some years old, been done today with a more nuanced understanding of those.


Yeah, yeah. And as far as the reporting of race and ethnicity of the study, that was based on the self reporting of the parents. So, yes, this email is correct. Race is socially constructed. There's no biological or genetic support to the idea of human beings divided up into the racial categories that we talk about. A lot like when the Human Genome Project was completed in 2003. One of the findings that was really interesting was that there was more genetic diversity within people who would be described as part of the same race than there was within members like between people of two different races.


I actually feel like this is something that we've talked about on the show before, although I cannot recall what episode.


We've definitely talked about shifting definitions of different racial categories and how people have intentionally influenced those. I remember that coming up in the Bacon's Rebellion episodes and when we talked about Macario Garcia. So, yes, race is socially constructed. It also is something that has a real affect on people's lives all the time. And there are a lot of diseases and conditions and other health related issues and traits that follow along demographic lines, which is something that's really important for doctors and patients to all be aware of.


Also, should we start talking about things that are social constructs? If you think about it for a while, you can just work yourself into a whole existential dilemma because like crime, socially constructed, money socially constructed, the economy socially constructed, these are all things that are made up that we collectively believe in crammer word, a assigned identification of any object in the entire world.


Yeah, art. Art that's socially constructed anyway. I remember one day just being like, really, it's everything, everything is socially constructed.


So anyway, thank you again, Samantha, for sending that email, giving us an opportunity to explicitly say that that race is socially constructed. If we have not explicitly said that on the show before, in spite of having talked around it previously.


If you'd like to send us an email, we are at History podcast I heart radio dot com. We're also all over social media at best in history. That's where you'll find our Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest and Instagram. You can subscribe to our show on the I Heart radio app and our podcasts and anywhere else that you get podcasts. Stuff you missed in history class is the production of I Heart Radio for more podcasts from My Heart radio visit by her radio app Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite shows.


Brought to you by the Capitol, one quick silver card with Quicksilver, you earn unlimited one point five percent cash back on every purchase everywhere. That's unlimited, one point five percent cash back on everything you buy. And unlimited really means unlimited. With Quicksilver, there's no limit to how much cash back you can't earn.


Capital One. What's in your wallet? Credit approval required Capital One Bank USA and A you're ready to get back into yoga.


So you ordered the essentials. A non-slip mat, yoga blocks to keep balance and an exercise ball. And you used your Bank of America cash rewards credit card. Choosing to earn three percent cash back on online shopping or up to five point twenty five percent is a preferred rewards member, which you put towards the cost of your most essential yoga gear. Noise canceling headphones apply for yours at Bank of America Dotcom More Rewarding. Copyright 20-20 Bank of America Corp..