Born: August 13, 1933, in Schaal, Arkansas
Status: Professor of pediatrics, University of Arkansas Medical School, Little Rock, Arkansas
Education: B.A., 1952, Philander Smith College, Little Rock, Arkansas; M.D., 1960, University of Arkansas School of Medicine, Little Rock, Arkansas; certified pediatric endocrinologist, 1978
Position: Pediatric intern, University of Minnesota, 1960-1961; pediatric resident, 1961- 1963, chief pediatric resident, 1963-1964, pediatric research fellow, 1964-1967, assistant professor, 1967-1971, associate professor, 1971- 1976, professor of pediatrics, 1976-1987, 1994-, University of Arkansas Medical Center, Little Rock; director, Arkansas Department of Health, 1987-1993; United States surgeon general, 1993-1994
Joycelyn Minnie Elders was born Minnie Lee Jones on August 13, 1933, in Schaal, Arkansas, the eldest of eight children. Her parents, Curtis and Haller Jones, were sharecroppers and, while growing up, Elders worked in the fields with her parents and siblings. The sharecropper's house in which they lived had no electricity or indoor plumbing, and the children had to walk five miles to catch the school bus that would then take them 13 miles to the nearest school. But Elders enjoyed learning and did well, encouraged by her grandmother, who also lived with the family.
By the time Elders graduated from high school at the age of 15, she excelled enough to obtain a scholarship to Philander Smith College, a black college in Little Rock, Arkansas. She was starting a new life with college and