The Tuskegee Veterans Hospital and Its Black Physicians

The Early Years


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About the Book

When the Tuskegee Veteran’s Hospital opened in 1923, many in the Veteran’s Bureau believed that black physicians and nurses were not competent to staff the facility. Except for nurses’ aides, orderlies, attendants and laborers, hospital personnel would be white. Recruiting and training black medical professionals was difficult given the obstacles facing blacks in obtaining education in medicine and gaining acceptance in the field. The history of the hospital reflects the struggle for racial equality in the United States.
This book describes the effort to integrate the Tuskegee Veteran’s Hospital and follows the careers of the small group of well-trained, dedicated black physicians who played significant roles in its development as a treatment center for black veterans. The hospital’s contributions to research and medicine are documented, along with its involvement in one of the biggest scandals in medical research—the Tuskegee syphilis study.

About the Author(s)

Mary Kaplan, LCSW, is a clinical social worker who has worked in healthcare and geriatrics for over 40 years as a clinician, administrator, educator, and community activist. She is retired from the University of South Florida School of Aging Studies, where she taught courses on mental health and aging, geriatric care management, and Alzheimer’s disease. She is the author and co-author of six books and is an international speaker. She lives in Highlands, New Jersey.

Bibliographic Details

Mary Kaplan
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 160
Bibliographic Info: 12 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6298-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2548-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Preface 1
Introduction 4
1. Threats, Fear and Triumph: The Opening of the Tuskegee Veterans Hospital 23
2. Health Care for Black Veterans 50
3. Responding to the Call for Black Physicians at the Tuskegee Hospital 64
4. Fuller’s Trainees 76
5. The Practice of Medicine by Black Physicians in the Jim Crow South 81
6. The Tuskegee Veterans Hospital: Challenges, Successes and Scandal 89
7. 1986: ­Thirty-Seven Years Later 122
Chapter Notes 129
Bibliography 139
Index 147

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Kaplan’s book goes far beyond a history of the Tuskegee Veterans Hospital and its black physicians. Kaplan weaves a narrative of the struggle of blacks, racism in the military, institutional racism, and the civil rights movement. Highly recommended”—Choice
  • “Worthwhile…interesting illustrations and is well referenced. A valuable addition to our understanding of the struggles of African-American physicians”—Watermark