In 1910 a central Nebraska newspaper, the Aurora Sun, printed an editorial condemning a physician it dubbed ôthe notorious Dr. Flippin.ö Dr. Charles FlippinÆs reputation came under siege throughout the state as another newspaper editor alleged that the African American physician had committed ôthat most despicable of all crimesöùillegal abortion.
For thirty years rural Kansans and Nebraskans had hailed Flippin as a godsend because of his skill as a physician and his willingness to help anyone regardless of race or social class. Despite performing abortions even for young white women, Flippin managed to avoid conviction in several trials until finally pleading guilty in 1924. Tallman details the doctorÆs extraordinary life and analyzes the forces behind the prosecution of the aging physician. The first book to focus exclusively on attitudes towards abortion in early twentieth-century rural communities, The Notorious Dr. Flippin supplies long overlooked context for current debate and enriches studies of African American, western, womenÆs, and medical history.
The Notorious Dr. Flippin masterfully reveals a personal saga in which racism, sexism, vitriolic politics, pride, and a senile stubbornness all conspired, while also warning us that the story of Dr. Flippin runs parallel to the treatment of African American doctors on the larger national stage. ùHarriet A. Washington, from the foreword