Medical Care for All

Medical Care for All (HMYWK)

Location: Washington, DC 20059
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 55.218', W 77° 1.162'

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"Lift Every Voice"

— Georgia Ave./Pleasant Plains Heritage Trail —

During the Civil War (1861-1865), thousands of formerly enslaved people came to Washington in search of new lives. They needed work, education, shelter - and health care. In 1862 the U.S. government responded with Freedmen's Hospital, located at 12th and R Streets, NW.

Less than a decade later, Freedmen's moved near Fifth and W Streets and became Howard University's teaching hospital. At a time of strict segregation, Freedmen's, like the university itself, was open to all, offering high-level care and education.

Freedmen's focused on training physicians, but also became a top research institution. Pediatrician Roland Scott pioneered studies on sickle cell anemia, the genetic blood disorder that primarily affects African Americans. Washingtonian Charles R. Drew, who developed life-saving methods for mass blood banking during World War II, headed Freedmen's Surgery Department from 1941 until his death in 1950. From 1908 until 1975, Freedmen's operated in the building across the lawn from this sign, closing when Howard University Hospital opened on Georgia Avenue.

Among the Howard-associated physicians who cared for their community was Ionia Whipper, a graduate who sheltered unwed mothers in her home/clinic nearby at 511 Florida Avenue during the 1940s. Former faculty member Simeon Carson opened a private hospital at 1822 Fourth Street. During Civil Rights demonstrations Freedmen's treated participants free of charge.

Just east of here is the edge of what oldtimers called Howardtown, an area of wood-frame houses that grew from a settlement of formerly enslaved people during and after the Civil War. The Kelly Miller Dwellings replaced much of Howardtown in the early 1940s.

[Photo captions:]

A 1930 class of nursing students stood for a Scurlock portrait on Freedmen's Hospital's front steps, left. Above, a Freedmen's orderly pushes a convalescent. Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History * National Archives and Records Administration.

Dr. Charles R. Drew, left, poses with the Red Cross's first mobile blood-collecting unit during World War II. Scurlock Studio Records, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.

Dr. Roland Scott (wearing eyeglasses) receives an incubator for Freedmen's Hospital's babies, 1941. Afro-American Newspapers Archives and Research Center.

Howard-associated physicians Ionia Whipper, bottom right, and Simeon L. Carson, right. Below, Carson's private hospital. Collection of Carole Ione Lewis * Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University * Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University.

A portion of old Howardtown. DC Housing Authority.

Inspectors examine the new V Street Houses, right, also visible as the horseshoe-shaped development near Griffith Stadium, far right. Just south, the Kelly Miller Dwellings are under constructions, 1941. Washingtoniana Division, DC Public Library * DC Housing Authority.
Marker Number6 of 19
Year Placed2011
Placed ByCultural Tourism DC
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, September 3rd, 2014 at 4:34am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 324935 N 4309870
Decimal Degrees38.92030000, -77.01936667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 55.218', W 77° 1.162'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 55' 13.08" N, 77° 1' 9.72" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)202
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 515 Bryant St NW, Washington DC 20059, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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