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Lynchburg’s Proposed Black Hospital

The idea of a “Negro hospital” for Lynchburg was seriously discussed in the 1920s and again in the 1940s. In 1944 there were 15,000 African Americans in Central Virginia and only three black doctors to serve them. Young physicians did not want to come to a city where they could not get full hospital privileges.

In several Virginia cities, including Richmond, Norfolk, Newport News, and Roanoke, black hospitals gave African American doctors a place to practice hospital medicine, instead of turning their hospitalized patients over to white doctors as Lynchburg’s black doctors had to do.

An idea that gained some support in 1944 was to establish the proposed black hospital in the old Jackson Street School building at Ninth and Jackson Streets. The proposal proved to be impractical.

Most black physicians favored changing the policy at Lynchburg General so that black patients could be treated directly by their own private black physicians.

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