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Meharry,Black Medical School,1876~ Historian Chris Mitchell

  • Broadcast in Education
The Gist of Freedom

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"Nearly half of all black doctors practicing in the U.S. today are graduates of Meharry."

Join The Gist of Freedom as we discuss the history of Meharry College with historian, genealogist Chris Mitchell a daughter of a Meharry graduate! 

Meharry Medical College, founded in 1876 in Nashville, Tennessee, is the 2nd oldest medical school for African Americans in the nation. The college was established by the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Freedman’s Aid Society in 1876 when Samuel Meharry, a Scots-Irish immigrant salt trader who had been helped by a former enslaved family, gave a $15,000 donation in their honor. The Church and the Society used the donation to establish a program to provide medical training for former slaves. 

Meharry had its first graduate in 1877 and the following year there were three graduates. In 1886 the Dental Department was founded followed in 1889 by the Pharmacy Department. In 1915 the Medical Department received a state charger and Meharry became an independent institution. Hubbard Hospital, named after George W. Hubbard, one of the first faculty members, was built in 1917. 

In 1952 Dr. Harold D. West became the school’s first African American president. Under his leadership the campus expanded and another wing was added to Hubbard Hospital. Today Meharry Medical College consists of the School of Medicine, the School of Dentistry, the School of Graduate Studies and Research, the School of Allied Health Professions, the George Russell Towers of Hubbard Hospital, two health care centers, and the Harold D. West Basic Sciences Center.