Fall 1998
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Black-Owned and Operated Hospitals in the Detroit Metropolitan Area during the 20th Century
Sumby Memorial Hospital -
Edyth K. Thomas Hospital -
Boulevard General Hospital
"Rites of Passage" Ceremony at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
National Conference and Health Care Exhibit: February 26, 1999
Web Site Modifications
Fall Newsletter 1998
University of Michigan Medical School

The Archive

Documenting the Historical Experiences of African Americans in Southeastern Michigan with regard to Health Care, the Health Professions, and the Health Sciences
Black-Owned and Operated Hospitals
in the Detroit Metropolitan Area
during the 20th Century

Sidney A. Sumby Memorial Hospital, River Rouge, MI (1938-1987)

(a.k.a. Milton Community Hospital)

Sidney A. Sumby Memorial Hospital

Samuel B. Milton, MD

Visger Rd. and Palmerston St., River Rouge, MI
1938 (20 beds);

1950 (40 beds);
1956 (80 beds);

1962 (100 beds)

The hospital was founded in 1938 by Dr. Samuel B. Milton, a native of Washington, D. C. who earned his M.D. degree from Northwestern University and later became Wayne County Coroner.

The facility was named in honor of his late brother-in-law, also a physician, who died shortly after establishing his practice in Saginaw, MI. 

The hospital grew from its original 20-bed capacity to encompass a drug store, dental offices, and four clinics.  

In 1954, Mr. Herman J. Glass, Sr., the hospital's administrator, initiated a two-year general practice residency program.  The residency program was fully accredited by the Council on Medical Education and Hospitals of the American Medical Association and the American Academy of General Practice. 

The hospital became known as Milton Community Hospital before it closed in April, 1987.

Edyth K. Thomas Memorial Hospital, Detroit, MI

Edyth K. Thomas Memorial Hospital

Dr. Alfred E. Thomas, Sr.

556 East Garfield
1937 (50 beds;
later expanded to 114 beds);
1950 (160 beds)

Founded by Dr. Alfred E. Thomas, Sr. in June of 1937, Edyth K. Thomas Memorial Hospital was dedicated to the memory of his deceased daughter.  Dr. Thomas, Sr. received his M.D. degree from Meharry Medical College in 1903. He helped to organize the Allied/Detroit Medical Society in 1917 and was its first president until 1931.

The first of the hospital's two buildings was a three-story structure devoted to the care of medical and obstetrical cases.  The second building opened in December, 1937.  It had two floors, with an outpatient clinic on the second floor, and was   exclusively for the care of surgical cases.  It had an operating room, X-ray room, laboratory, and sterilizing room.  The clinic was equipped with 15 beds for those needing temporary institutionalization. 

Edyth K. Thomas Hospital admitted 1,568 patients during its first fiscal year. By 1950 it had the capacity to service 58 general patients and 102 psychiatric patients. 

Dr. Alf Thomas, Sr. was a founder or co-founder of at least 5 of Detroit's African American Hospitals.  Edyth K. Thomas Hospital closed in 1965.

Boulevard General Hospital
Detroit, MI
(c. 1960-1974)

Boulevard General Hospital

Drs. Harold Johnson and

Frank Raiford, III

1852 West Grand Boulevard (100-plus beds)

The hospital was founded in the early 1960s as a non-profit community hospital when Trinity Hospital moved from its East Vernor Highway location in Detroit to the old Resthaven Hospital location. 

Boulevard General Hospital was administered by Mr. George Allen, Detroit's first graduate- degreed African American hospital administrator, under the direction of the Crestwood Corporation, a group of physician investors.   Co - founder Dr. Frank Raiford, III graduated from the University of Michigan Medical School in 1943.

Boulevard General was the largest of the four hospitals (including Burton Mercy, Trumbull General, and Delray General) which merged in 1974 to form the Southwest Detroit Hospital.

Rites of Passage

Drs. Charles and Roberta Wright

Drs. Charles and Roberta Wright, Rites of Passage Ceremony, CHWMAAH, September 13, 1998

On Sunday, September 13, 1998, the Rites of Passage ceremony was held to officially dedicate the Museum in honor of Dr. Wright.  We salute our friend and founder. May the legacy of his commitment to documenting, preserving, and educating the public on the history, life, and culture of African Americans live forever.

National Conference
February 26, 1999

National Conference

The Kellogg African American Health Care Project and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (CHWMAAH) is hosting a national conference on the past and present state of black healthcare and blacks in the health sciences.

The conference will be held on February 26, 1999, at the CHWMAAH.

Health Care Exhibit

The Kellogg African American Health Care Project and the Detroit Public Library will be developing a health care exhibit of photographs and medical artifacts at the Detroit Public Library from February - March 1999.  The Detroit Medical Society, the Walter Reuther and Bentley Historical Libraries, the CHWMAAH, and several community residents will be working together to develop the exhibit.

We are looking to borrow small items to be displayed at the exhibit. All items must be from the period 1900 - 1969 and represent the medical and health care history of Southeastern Michigan.  Please feel free to contact George Myers below if you have items you would like to be part of the exhibit.

Upcoming Issues

The Winter quarterly newsletter will feature the last of the seventeen Black-owned and operated hospitals in the Detroit Metropolitan area along with project updates.  If you would like to have any of the earlier editions, please contact:

George Myers, Research Investigator/Project Coordinator
300 North Ingalls Building,
Room 3D019
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
email: gmyers@umich.edu

web address: www.med.umich.edu/haahc

Research Investigators

Norman L. Foster, M.D.,  Professor, University of Michigan Medical School

Harold W. Neighbors, Ph.D.,  Professor, University of Michigan School of Public Health

Kellogg Project Team

George Myers
Ron Amos

Project Advisors

Vence Bonham, J.D., College of Human Medicine,
Michigan State University

Joel Howell, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, University of Michigan Medical School

Martin Pernick, Ph.D., Professor, History Dept., University of Michigan

Richard Candida Smith, Ph.D.,  Professor, History Dept., University of Michigan

Nicholas Steneck, Ph.D., Professor, History Dept., University of Michigan

Brian Williams, M.L.S., Associate Archivist, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan

Internet Web Site

Our web site is  being updated to include more information on the project, additional links to other sites, sound bytes of selected excerpts from interviews, and more.

Copyright Kellogg African American Health Care Project, University of Michigan, 2000.
Text and images may not be used without the permission of the Kellogg African American Health Care Project and the University of Michigan.