Contains personal and professional correspondence, pamphlets, programs, financial information, calendars, datebooks, identification cards, awards and honors, passports and visas, applications, memorabilia, printed materials, a yearbook, certificates, building plans, cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs, U-Matic video cassettes, 16mm film reels, certificates, notes, meeting minutes and agendas, funeral programs and obituaries, photographs, newspaper clippings, publications, reprints, textiles, artifacts, scrapbooks, binders, transcripts, and electronic records pertaining to Akwari's personal and professional interests and activities. Major subjects include the Society of Black American Surgeons (SBAS) and St. Titus Episcopal Church (Durham, N.C.). Materials date from 1914 to 2021.
Onyekwere Emmanuel Akwari was born in 1942 in Aba, Nigeria to Theophilus Akwari, an export-import business owner, and Ngarasi Christiana Ukegbu, the owner and operator of numerous local shops. He was raised in Abia State, Nigeria as the oldest of eight children. He attended the Hope Waddell Training Institution in Calabar, Nigeria. In 1962, shortly after Nigeria declared its independence from British rule, Akwari made the decision to leave his home country and travel to the United States for university after receiving a scholarship through the African Scholarship Program of American University (ASPAU). In 1960, seventeen African countries emerged from colonial rule, and the ASPAU awarded scholarships to enable highly qualified African secondary school graduates to obtain first degree training at United States institutions of higher learning. Akwari received his undergraduate degree from the University of Washington in 1966, where he served in student government. He received his medical degree in 1970 at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, where he served as freshman class president and, as a senior, student body president. While he was attending medical school, Akwari's family businesses were destroyed in Nigeria's civil war.Akwari joined the general surgery training program at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota, where his special general surgical clinical focus was complex abdominal surgeries and his research focus was neural and hormonal regulation of gastrointestinal motility. While in his surgical residency, Akwari provided six of his siblings with assistance to immigrate to the United States to obtain their undergraduate educations.In a 6 month leave from the Mayo Clinic, Akwari implemented an Emergency Medicine Residency Program at the Martin Luther King/Drew Medical Center for the Southeast Health Region of Los Angeles County. Akwari's research and clinical acumen prompted Dr. David C. Sabiston, Jr., visiting as 1977 Balfour Professor at Mayo Clinic, to recruit him to Duke University as an Associate Professor of Surgery. At the time, Duke University Medical Center only had two other African-American professors on faculty, and Akwari was only the second on the academic tenure track.Akwari held an active surgical practice at Duke until he was struck with chronic illness in 1995. Despite his illness, he remained a faculty member until his death. Akwari served on Duke's medical school admissions committee, Duke's faculty governance Academic Council, Duke's Athletic Council, and other Medical Center and University Committees. An advocate for expanding and celebrating diversity at the university, Akwari supported the introduction of Duke's women's and minority studies programs and hosted gatherings for fellow "first" African Americans at Duke.Among Akwari's accomplishments was the foundation of the Society of Black Academic Surgeons (SBAS). SBAS was organized by Akwari and three other African-American surgeons in 1989 to support the racial integration of academic surgical departments in the post-civil rights era.Over the course of his career, Akwari published over 150 articles and book chapters and presented at 73 national and international medical meetings. He was a member of the American Surgical Association, Alpha Tau Boule' section of Sigma Pi Phi, a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, a fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada, past head of the surgical section of the National Medical Association, and served on committees of the American College of Surgeons and the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract. His Duke awards include the University Scholar/Teacher of the Year award, the Raymond Gavins Distinguished Faculty Award, and, the Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching Clinical Sciences. The inaugural Duke Classic of Duke Mens' Basketball was dedicated to Akwari, posthumously.Akwari married Anne Micheaux in 1978. Anne Micheaux Akwari also holds medical and law degrees. Onyekewere and Anne Micheaux Akwari had two children. Onyekewere Akwari died on April 14, 2019.
Organized into the following series: Personal/Biographical, 1959-2018; Correspondence, 1961-2018; Audiovisual Materials, 1974-2008, bulk undated; Memorials and Tributes, 1980-2019; Photographic Materials, 1957-2013; Printed Materials, 1934-2019, bulk 1960-2019; Professional Activities, 1914-2020; Scrapbooks and Binders, 1963-2014; Society of Black American Surgeons (SBAS), 1978-2017; St. Titus Episcopal Church (Durham, N.C.), 1957-2017, bulk 1992-2017; Digital Files, 1993-2021; Restricted, 1962-2013.