Do you know the history and meaning behind the name of some of BRC’s rowing shells? BRC has system for naming, or in some cases renaming, its shells that links BRC to Baltimore neighbors, landmarks, bodies of water, known and lesser known historical figures, and in one case a continuation of a tradition.
Frances Harper: Single Scull
Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (September 24, 1825 – February 22, 1911) was an African-American abolitionist, suffragist, poet and author. She was also active in other types of social reform and was a member of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, which advocated the federal government taking a role in progressive reform.
Born free in Baltimore, Maryland, she had a long and prolific career, publishing her first book of poetry at age 20 and her widely praised Iola Leroy, at age 67. In 1850, she became the first woman to teach sewing at the Union Seminary. In 1851, alongside William Still, chairman of the Pennsylvania Abolition Society, she helped escaped slaves along the Underground Railroad on their way to Canada. She began her career as a public speaker and political activist after joining the American Anti-Slavery Society in 1853.
Vivien Theodore Thomas (August 29, 1910 – November 26, 1985) was an African-American surgical technician who developed the procedures used to treat blue baby syndrome in the 1940s. He was the assistant to surgeon Alfred Blalock in Blalock’s experimental animal laboratory at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, and later at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
Vivien served as supervisor of the surgical laboratories at Johns Hopkins for 35 years. In 1976 Hopkins awarded him an honorary doctorate and named him an instructor of surgery for the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Without any education past high school, Thomas rose above poverty and racism to become a cardiac surgery pioneer and a teacher of operative techniques to many of the country’s most prominent surgeons.
There is a television film based on his life entitled Something the Lord Made which premiered May 2004 on HBO.
Nom de Guerre: Double Scull
an assumed name under which a person engages in combat or some other activity or enterprise.