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The Story Behind the Exhibit: No Roadmap: Integrating the Charlotte Medical Community 1951-1965


No Roadmap: Integrating the Charlotte Medical Community 1951-1965

In the early 1880s African Americans living in the South had limited access to professional medical care and facilities. Many Negro slaves had knowledge of traditional African medical practices using plants, herbs, and minerals and used that medical knowledge to treat enslaved Africans throughout the country. 

In 1891, the Good Samaritan Hospital was opened as the first privately funded hospital for African Americans in North Carolina. By the late 1950s, Charlotte Memorial Hospital finally opened their doors to black patients in critical condition. The North Carolina Medical Society continued to deny black doctors throughout Charlotte, making them ineligible to practice medicine in the hospital. Between 1960 and 1963 the motion for integration of black physicians to become members of the NC State Medical Society was denied three times. It was not until 1965 that the motion passed, allowing full membership for black physicians. 

The new exhibition entitled, No Roadmap: Integrating the Charlotte Medical Community 1951-1965chronicles the journey of black doctors in America. From the early 1800s with James Still (a self-taught healer), and James McCune Smith (the first African American to earn a medical degree), to Dr. Reginald A. Hawkins (pioneer for equal access to healthcare for black Charlotteans) and Dr. Emery L. Rann (pioneer in challenging the “white-only” policy of Charlotte’s local medical society) the exhibition accounts the struggle for integration throughout the medical community. 

About No Roadmap

Black History in Health Care

No Roadmap: Integrating the Charlotte Medical Community 1951-1965 is on display now.