History of Black Hospitals

February 9, 2012
Cynthia Jackson wanted to learn something new about black history and became intrigued with black hospitals. She conducted research for more than a year to find out how many existed and what had happened to them.Her questions were answered when she discovered Nathaniel Wesley Jr.’s book “Black Hospitals in America: History, Contributions and Demise.”

The book revealed that about 500 hospitals were exclusively owned or operated by black doctors who primarily served black patients in their communities during the height of the country’s segregated past.

“It never occurred to me that we had black hospitals,” Jackson, 41, said of her interest. “That prompted me to continue.”

Jackson, a facilities manager with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, moved forward by inviting Wesley to speak at an event to celebrate Black History Month.

A presentation on the history and downfall of black hospitals was held Monday at the Laurel-Beltsville Senior Activity Center. In attendance was an audience of more than 30 people including former health care professionals and current staff members at Howard University Hospital.

An exhibit on display featured photographs, vintage medical equipment and banners that highlighted some significant medical achievements of African Americans.

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