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African American History Medical Notes*


Compiled by William Larsha, Sr.

For The Mid-South Tribune

(Published Black History Month, February 1999)

B.C. – Written in ancient Egypt, papyri were the first medical text books

1658 – The first American hospital built to serve sick Negroes opened on Manhattan Island [New York]

1783 – James Derham, a former slave, becomes the first Negro physician

1833 – The oldest hospital built by whites for Negro patients was the Savannah Infirmary in Georgia.

1845 – The Mississippi State Hospital in Natchez cared only for the slaves whose owners could pay a dollar a day for service.

1862 – Howard University was founded by an act of the U.S. Congress

1865 - The Freedmen’s Bureau which was established by Congress filled the void for Negro hospital service for a short time.

1868 – Howard University opens its School of Medicine and Nursing.

1870 – Only eleven of the Freedmen’s bureau Hospitals were still opened.

1872 – All of the Freedmen’s Bureau hospitals were closed except in Washington, D.C.

1876 – Meharry Medical School was founded as the Medical Department of Central College in Nashville, Tennessee.

1881- Spelman College in Atlanta opened its medical facility.

1883 – William A. Hinton developed the “Hinton test” for diagnosing syphilis was born.

1892 – The Medical and Surgical Observer is the first African American Medical journal.

1892 – Provident Hospital of Chicago was the first school for training Negro nurses.

1894 – School of Nursing at Freedmen’s Hospital in Washington, D.C. opened.

1895 – The National Medical Association founded.

1900 – Of the 41 private Negro hospitals, 78 percent were in the South.

1909 – Collins Chapel, a Colored Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church facility, was founded in Memphis, Tennessee.

1909 – The National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses as founded.

1912 – The number of Negro hospitals had grown to 65.

1913 – Walden Hospital in Chattanooga, Tennessee was founded.

1913 –  The National Dental Association was formed.

1919 – Negro hospitals increased from 65 to 118.

1922 – Andrew E. Mellon, then Secretary of the U.S. Treasury, approved $2.5 million for the establishment of a Veteran’s Hospital at Tuskegee Institute.

1923 – It was reported that only 7 percent of the 202 Negro hospitals that were studied had at least 50 beds.

1924 – Howard University Medical School and Meharry Medical College were the only two Negro medical schools left of the 14 that had been established.

1934 – 134 Negro hospitals were in operation.

1934 – Of all Negro hospitals, only 14 were approved for residency training.

1939 – Only 10 Negro hospitals were approved for internship training for Negro physicians.

1978 – Morehouse Medical School was founded in Atlanta, Georgia.

1987 – It was reported that only 20 percent of the country’s 6000 African American physicians had graduated from either Meharry Medical College or Howard University.



* From The Mid-South Tribune/Black Information Highway archives.




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