Dr. Daniel Hale Williams
First Successful Heart Surgery
Dr. Daniel Hale Williams founded Provident Hospital in Chicago, the first black-owned hospital in America. He is also credited with the world’s first successful heart surgery, conducted in Chicago in 1893. On a summer night, a young man arrived at Provident with a stab wound to the heart. When the patient went into shock, Williams decided to operate.
Dr. William Augustus Hinton
Internationally Renowned Researcher, First Black Doctor to Teach at Harvard
Dr. William Augustus Hinton, the son of former slaves, became the first black professor at Harvard Medical School and gained an international reputation for his medical research. As a young man, he boldly declined the offer of a Harvard medical scholarship reserved for African-American students in order to compete for a scholarship open to students of all races.
Mary Eliza Mahoney, RN
First African-American Nurse
Mary Eliza Mahoney was the first Black professional nurse in America. Known for her calm and quiet skill, she, nonetheless, mounted the stage at a 1909 nursing conference in Boston to call for direct action to correct the stark inequalities faced by African-American nurses.
Dr. James McCune Smith
First African-American to Earn a Medical Degree
Dr. James McCune Smith was the first African-American to earn a medical degree and practice medicine in the United States. He was also the first to own and operate a pharmacy, in New York City. At the age of 25, just returned from medical school in Scotland, Smith rose at the annual meeting of the American Anti-Slavery Society and spoke out against slavery, telling the crowd of abolitionist support in Europe.