This is a great story well worth the effort. it tells of a great talent making his way in the world to his destiny and the changes he wrought and the utter esteem earned by his students and true successors. The lesson is that talent can always find a way that all others will miss.
It tells the story of the pioneers of cardiac surgery and gives us a sense of their stunning achievement. Their real legacy is the million of lives well extended. That its greatest talent had to also step around the color barrier without been able to actually attend college is remarkable but not unusual. Every theorist ultimately needs a real lab rat and the skills are never picked up in a lectrure hall.
It is a great story and the respect of their peers won recognition over all possible objections.
Blalock and Thomas knew the social codes and traditions of the Old South. They understood the line between life inside the lab, where they could drink together in 1930, and life outside, where they could not. Neither one was to cross that line. Thomas attended Blalock’s parties as a bartender, moonlighting for extra income. In 1960 when Blalock celebrated his 60th birthday at Baltimore’s Southern Hotel, Thomas was not present.