FAMU Hospital

In commemoration of Black History Month, this series highlights African-American history in Florida.

Emancipation, and the period of Reconstruction that followed, brought civil rights to freed slaves throughout the former Confederacy for the first time. Black communities organized and built churches, schools, hospitals, businesses, and civic organizations. These institutions developed separately from their white counterparts during the era of legal segregation known as Jim Crow.

The legal gains of the 1860s and 1870s proved short-lived, and full equality remained only a dream until the triumphs of the modern Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s.

Dr. R.L. Anderson and nurse Lillie Mae Chavis with a patient, 1953

Dr. R.L. Anderson and nurse Lillie Mae Chavis with a patient

The Florida A&M University Hospital symbolized efforts by the black community to provide for its own health and wellness during segregation. Officially dedicated as a hospital on February 7, 1951, the institution first opened as a sanitarium in 1911. Before integration led to its closure in 1971, FAMU Hospital served as the only facility of its kind for African-Americans within 150 miles of Tallahassee.

Nurse Grace Kyler working with polio patients, 1953

Nurse Grace Kyler working with polio patients

Teacher Christine Jenkins with patients, 1953

Teacher Christine Jenkins with patients

The photographs featured in this blog post show scenes from FAMU Hospital in September 1953. These images are part of the Tallahassee Democrat Photographic Collection, which is currently in the process of digitization.

Want to learn more? This Friday, February 28, 2014, Florida A&M University and the Florida Division of Historical Resources will unveil a historic marker commemorating FAMU Hospital. The ceremony begins at 10 AM at the intersection of Palmer Avenue and Adams Street on the campus of Florida A&M University.

Nurse Idelle Anderson using an autoclave, 1953

Idelle Anderson operating an autoclave

Nurse station, 1953

Nurse’s station

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2 thoughts on “FAMU Hospital

  1. My mother graduated from FAM Nursing program!! Her name was Helen E. Byers. Is there somewhere online I could look through pictures to see if I can find some of her??

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