This day in history: first black hospital opens

The Georgia Infirmary was the first hospital for African Americans built in the United States. It was chartered on December 24, 1832 “for the relief and protection of aged and afflicted Africans.” It was established by the Georgia General Assembly and funded by a $10,000 grant from the estate of Thomas F. Williams, a local merchant and minister. Today the institution is known as the Adult Day Center-Georgia Infirmary and is part of St. Joseph’s/Candler healthcare network.


Public Domain

Photo: Public Domain

Mistreatment and poor living and working conditions often left slaves in bad health, and their owners cast many slaves out when they were no longer able to work. Williams’ grant, as well as proposals for the state of Georgia to take on the care of old and unwell slaves while recouping the cost from slave holders, contributed to the motivation for the creation of the hospital. The Infirmary was built 10 miles south of Savannah, Georgia, on a 50-acre parcel of land donated by Richard F. Williams, the brother and executor of Thomas F. Williams’ estate. Richard F. Williams was elected as the first president of the hospital’s board of trustees.

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