January 18th in African American History – Daniel Hale Williams

Daniel Hale WilliamsJanuary 18, 1856 Daniel Hale Williams, the first African American cardiologist in the United States, was born in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania.

Williams graduated from Chicago Medical College (now Northwestern University Medical School) in 1883. In 1891, he founded Provident Hospital, the first integrated hospital in the United States, and training school for nurses in Chicago, Illinois.

In 1893, Williams performed an operation on a man that had been stabbed in the chest. The operation required that he open the man’s chest, and close the wound around the heart. This is often noted as the first successful surgery on the heart. In 1895, he co-founded the National Medical Association for black doctors. In 1913, he became a charter member, and the only black member, in the American College of Surgeons.

Williams received honorary degrees from Howard and Wilberforce Universities. Williams died on August 4, 1931. Biographies of Williams include “Daniel Hale Williams: Negro Surgeon” (1968) and “Daniel Hale Williams: Open Heart Doctor” (1970). The Daniel Hale Williams Preparatory School of Medicine in Chicago is named in his honor.

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