This month we are celebrating Black History Month by sharing stories of African Americans who made strides in the medical field, while at the same time fighting for racial justice.
Daniel Hale Williams was born in Hollidaysburg, PA in 1858. Eventually moving to Chicago, he graduated from Chicago Medical College. He entered private practice shortly after in an integrated neighborhood and taught anatomy at Chicago Medical College. Ultimately believing that the city of Chicago should have a hospital that treated all races, on May 4th, 1891 he opened Provident Hospital and Training School for Nurses. This was the first interracial hospital and nursing school in the entire country.
Fate would have it that Black History Month and American Heart Month would intersect in significance. On July 10, 1893, Daniel Hale Williams performed what is regarded as the first documented open heart surgery. He is known as the first African American cardiologist.