America's Racist Roots Didn't Prevent Them From Achieving Greatness

Howard Medical School
Abeni Jones
November 4, 2021

Known for producing excellence and empowering talented people since its inception, Howard University Health Services Center has been crucial to the Black experience for a very long time.

From its founding and all the way through the Civil Rights Movement and onward, the university has educated a large number of America’s Black doctors. And it all started over a hundred years ago


Many Southern white institutions didn’t accept Black students until the 1960s. The racist roots of this country prevented educational opportunities for so many young, Black, gifted minds.

In 1867, the doors of Howard University Medical Center opened – and opportunity awaited the inaugural class. The university’s opening ultimately paved the way toward creating prime examples of Black excellence.

Howard’s founders knew we couldn’t wait around for whites to accept us – we had to take care of each other. Some of the university’s earliest students went on to do extraordinary things. 

James T. Wormley, the first student to graduate from the school of medicine, for example, worked as a pharmacist to the poor and also participated in anti-segregation sit-ins and other activism.

Countless graduates have brought their top-tier medical knowledge back to their home communities. 

Despite the mountains of challenges and adversity placed in front of the founding faculty, they produced some of the most talented students and doctors in the nation!

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