Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Marker Details

Image courtesy of William Furry
The marker is located at 407 E. Walnut Street, Harrisburg, IL
Dedication Date:
Dedication By:
Saline County Historical Society, The William G. Pomeroy Foundation, and the Illinois State Historical Society

Marker Description:

Pioneering Black physician James Henry Lewis (1888–1963) was born in North Carolina. Because of limited educational opportunities available to Black students at the time and place, he moved to Illinois, where he worked to put himself through both Wheaton Academy and Wheaton College. After graduation from Meharrey Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, and an internship at City Hospital in St. Louis, Dr. Lewis learned of the need for a Black physician in Harrisburg, then the largest city in southeastern Illinois. He moved to Harrisburg in 1923 and, owing to the need for a hospital to treat Black patients in that segregated era in 1927, he opened his own hospital – The Lewis Sanatorium at 407 East Walnut Street. There the doctor welcomed all patients without regard to race, Doctor Lewis was highly respected in the community, and Lewis Street in Harrisburg was named in honor.


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