Prognosis: Controversy

Pro-condom and pro-choice, the nominee for Surgeon General is provoking a heated reaction from conservatives

Joycelyn Elders, the pediatrician nominated to be Surgeon General, was the first in her sharecropper family of eight children to go to college, working her way through Philander Smith, a black institution in Arkansas, as a cleaning woman. When she was home one weekend, her younger brother Chester, now a Methodist minister in Pine Bluff, realized that she had begun to change when she took her siblings to the drive-in to see a movie. "She went to a section not marked off for coloreds," says her brother. "The attendant told her to move, and they got in a heated argument. We...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!