Did you know there are 35 African-American doctors in Monroe today? That’s a lot of doctors, but it’s an accurate number.
The African American Heritage Drama opens next week saluting the pioneers of the medical profession in Monroe: Drs. A.M. Mackel and Dr. Durden. Who were driven out of Monroe by local blacks who had no trust in black doctors and placed empty caskets in their front yards in 1915.
We’ve come a long way since that time. We have just about every kind of doctor you can think of from general practitioners, internalists, surgeons, chiropractors, dentists, and many others.
This is an aspect of our history that we often overlook because the first black doctors had to convince our community that they were “real” doctors. We just didn’t trust them; even today, some of us seem to think a doctor who has an African accent, is less qualified than a “real” doctor. Many believe they are not “real” doctors, but are somehow second rate.
The plight of those first doctors who had to deal with the Voodoo superstitions and Granny Midwife culture that existed in the early 20th century, is similar to the struggle of many today. Next week the heritage drama will present a snapshot of a year in the life of the first doctors and their replacements: Dr. Governor McClanahan, John Miller, and Arthur Johnson.
They paved the way, with the help of Emily Howard, a former slave known as the “Root Doctor” to break open barriers for our people.
The black-tie affair will be held on Friday, February 22nd at 6:45 with free Hors’deurves for all who choose to come to meet the doctors. (Everyone is a VIP).
Need to know them?
Check out this list and find your favorite doctor: Janice R. Pharr, MD; Janice L. Ford, MD; Cresha T. Davis, MD; Jenny Guerre, MD; Twanna Chisley, MD; Tonya H. Hunter, MD; Michael Archie, MD; Alyce Adams, MD; Craig Turner, MD; Thomas Williams, MD; Ollie Beth Reddix, DDS; Samuel Bred Sanders, DMD; Kimberly Caldwell, DDS; Katrina Beverly, DDS; Taylor Neal, DC; Chris Harris, DC; Dr. Williams, DDS; Joseph Walters, MD; Frederick Lee, MD; Nkeekam Anumele, MD; Okechukwu Ifediora, MD; Benjamin Oyefara, MD; Godfrey Achilihu, MD; Claude Minor, Jr., MD; Richard Smith, MD; Gary Menefee, MD; Odell Dean, Jr. MD; David Norman, MD; Oladipo Lapite, MD; Obioma Ilouga, MD; Sylvester Mapoh, MD and Cynthia Brown Manning, MD. As we salute our history in this area, we encourage you in joining us in the community salute to our black doctors at the Heritage Drama next week.