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African American History at Duke Medicine

A guide to archival materials about African Americans at the Duke University Medical Center

Introduction to African American History at the Duke University Medical Center

Early Hospital Floor Plan

The stories of African Americans have been historically underrepresented and concealed in archival collections. Consequently researching their history can be difficult.

This guide aims to introduce researchers to materials documenting the history of African Americans at the Duke University Medical Center. The focus is on navigating resources within the Medical Center Archives. It is not intended to be a comprehensive bibliography, but rather a starting guide to locating research materials.

To the right: A 1927 floor plan of Duke University Hospital shows that African American patients were admitted but facilities were segregated. Part of the Wilburt C. Davison Papers, and also available at MEDSpace.

The information in this guide is separated into multiple sections. Use the tabs on the top left of this page to navigate to each section.

  • Duke Medicine Key Dates & Key FiguresSelected highlights featuring important dates, events, and figures in the history of African Americans at the Medical Center.
  • Archival CollectionsThese collections were created by Medical Center departments, faculty, alumni, and organizations. They contain primary documents including correspondence, reports, administrative files, and memoranda.
  • Oral Histories: Interviews conducted with key figures in Duke Medicine's history.
  • Photograph & Audiovisual Collections: Images and AV materials documenting the history, functions, operations, key figures, events, innovations of the Medical Center. 
  • Subject & Biographical FilesPrepared by Medical Center Archives staff, this collection provides brief overviews of important topics and figures in Duke Medicine’s history.
  • Duke Medicine Publications: These titles include publications produced by the Medical Center, from the 1950s to the present.
  • Recommended ResourcesSuggested resources for learning more about African Americans at Duke Medicine.