When World War I hit, Detroit went from an auto-producing powerhouse to military production, and the demand for labor attracted thousands of Black folks from the South for work.
By 1917, Detroit had more than 30,000 Black residents, many of whom could not access the city’s segregated white hospitals...
In fact, the Black population was so booming that the city’s 30 Black doctors formed the Allied Medical Society to better serve them!
The Allied Medical Society bought the Warren House and converted it into Dunbar Memorial Hospital in 1917: “It was designed as an institution of uplift; it was intended as a symbol of community. This was uniquely Detroit,” says Michael Aloisio, a scholar who studied the hospital.
Staffed by nearly EVERY Black doctor in Detroit, the hospital provided care for patients. But even more, Dunbar Memorial Hospital sponsored training and internships for students and nurses.
In 1928, Dunbar Hospital moved to a larger facility to accommodate the demand. How these amazing doctors came together to serve their people during segregation is a testament to what we can do for each other today!