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date: 11 April 2021

Chinn, May Edwardlocked

(15 April 1896–01 December 1980)
  • Robert C. Hayden


Chinn, May Edward (15 April 1896–01 December 1980), physician and cancer researcher, was born in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, the daughter of William Lafayette Chinn, a former slave who had escaped to the North from a Virginia plantation and had unsteady employment as a result of race discrimination, and Lulu Ann Evans, a domestic worker. Occasionally William Chinn worked at odd jobs and as a porter. Raised in New York City, May Chinn was educated in the city’s public schools and at the Bordentown Manual Training and Industrial School (N.J.), and she attended Morris High School in New York. A severe bout with osteomyelitis of the jaw plagued her as a child and required extensive medical treatment. Her family’s poverty forced her to drop out of high school in the eleventh grade for a factory job. A year later she scored high enough on the entrance examination for Teachers’ College at Columbia University to be admitted to the class of 1921 without a high school diploma....

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