Is This a Joke?

ALJ disapproves.

Black Then needs to learn basic research and grammar. Thank you to my friend and former colleague Susan Dunne for pointing out this travesty. There are so many errors, I’m numbering them:


Anna Louise James was born on January 19, 1886, in Hartford. She was the ninth child 4) of a Virginia plantation slave who escaped to Connecticut. The name on Anna Louise James birth certificate identifies her name as being Louise Clegget James. James grew up in Old Saybrook, 5,6) and dedicated her early life to education. In 1908 James became the first African-American woman to graduate from the Brooklyn College of Pharmacy in New York.

James later operated a drugstore in Hartford until 1911, when she went to work for her brother-in-law at his pharmacy, making her the first female African American pharmacist in the state. The pharmacy where James worked started out as a general store for the Humphry Pratt Tavern in 1790. The store moved to its current location at the corner of Pennywise Lane in 1877, 7) where it became Lane Pharmacy. 8)

Peter Lane, one of only two black pharmacists in early 9) Connecticut, added a soda fountain to his establishment in 1896. 9) When Peter got called away to fight in World War I, 10) he left the pharmacy in the care of his sister-in-law, Anna Louise James. In 1917, Anna took over the operations and renamed her business James 11) Pharmacy. Anna, known to local residents as “Miss James,” operated the business until 1967.

After her retirement, Anna Louise James kept residence in an apartment in the back 12) of the pharmacy until her death in 1977. The store itself remained vacant from 1967 until 1980, when it was renovated and reopened in 1984.

1) ALJ was born twenty-one years after the end of the Civil War. She was NEVER a slave, which means she couldn’t “escape.” 

2,3) She was the first African American woman pharmacist in Connecticut. No one has ever said she was one of the first in the country. The word “pharmacist” needs to be plural.

4) She was Willis S. James’s tenth child. Cleggett has two “Ts,” but I didn’t feel like renumbering.

5,6) ALJ lived in Hartford until she was nine or ten and then moved to Saybrook. The town was not called Old Saybrook until 1947.

7) He didn’t open the pharmacy until 1900. The street was called Pratt Street. Again didn’t feel like renumbering.

8) Lane’s Pharmacy needs an apostrophe.

9) Peter Lane received his pharmacy license in the 1890s. “Early Connecticut” would be the seventeenth century (1600s), two hundred years earlier.

10) Peter Lane did not fight in World War I. That’s a falsehood promulgated by some P.R. person.

11) James’ Pharmacy needs an apostrophe.

12) Her apartment was above the pharmacy.

Hope you regret the errors and that you obtained permission from Harvard to use the photograph.

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