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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11 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??

  2. I was born in Famu’s hospital in September of 1971. Probably not long before it closed. I have never been back in that building since. Probably should go one day since I now know the history of the place.

  3. I believe my husband’s family may have been served by the workers of this hospital. Did this hospital practice labor and delivery in the 1930s? If so then there may be a strong chance that my husband’s grandfather was born in this hospital. Are there any records available that one could look at for genealogical research?

    • Hi Tina,

      The State Archives does not hold the records for FAMU Hospital, but there are a few other places you can check. First, contact the Meek Eaton Black Archives at FAMU because they hold a FAMU Hospital collection. Their phone number is (850) 599-3020. If you can’t find the records you are seeking there, contact the Office of Vital Statistics in Jacksonville. They may have a birth certificate record with the hospital listed on it. Their phone number is (904) 359-6900.

  4. My uncle was treated at this hospital in the 1930’s after being hit by a car on Bronough Street where he lived. I understand that due to a head injury a metal plate was placed in his head. The family is curious about this because he served the Army during WWII. We would like to know what happened to him and whether this was true.

    • Hi Laura,

      The State Archives does not hold the records for FAMU Hospital. We recommend contacting the Meek Eaton Black Archives at FAMU, they hold a FAMU Hospital collection. Their phone number is (850) 599-3020.

  5. I was born in FAMU’s Hospital September 1966 and delivered by Dr. Alex Bricker. Were there any photos taken of newborns at the hospital during that time and, if so, where are they located?

    • The State Archives does not hold photographs of babies born at FAMU Hospital. We recommend contacting the Meek Eaton Black Archives at FAMU because they hold a FAMU Hospital collection. Their phone number is (850) 599-3020.

  6. My name is born Minnie Lee brown I was born in FAM HOSPITAL in 1958 use to have photo of my birth certificate football prints back then but i lost it.

  7. My name is born Antoinette Chavis Anderson I was born in FAMU HOSPITAL in 1961 use to have photo of my birth certificate football prints back then but i lost it.

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