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Wilkerson, Vernon Alexander (21 August 1901–24 May 1968), biochemist, educator, and physician, was born in Fort Scott, Kansas, and grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. His parents’ names and occupations are unknown. After attending Sumner High School in Kansas City (1913–1917), he entered the University of Kansas, where he majored in chemistry and graduated with an A.B. in 1921. He stayed an additional year at Kansas before attending the medical school of the University of Iowa, Iowa City, where he earned the M.D. in 1925. During his medical studies, he listed his place of residence as Council Bluffs, Iowa. Next came a year of internship at Kansas City General Hospital No. 2, followed by a one-year appointment as house surgeon at Wheatley-Provident Hospital, also in Kansas City. These hospitals, located in a racially segregated city, served the African-American community exclusively and provided one of the few means available anywhere in the country for black medical graduates to acquire postgraduate training....