From Community Hospital-Wilmington, North Carolina by Jae Jones
Citation: Jones, J. (2018, August 8). Community Hospital-Wilmington, North Carolina. BlackThen. Available at https://blackthen.com/community-hospital-wilmington-north-carolina/
During the 1920s African Americans were limited to a few locations where they could receive medical treatment if needing in patient care.
In Wilmington, NC the Community Hospital was opened on February 1, 1921, by a group led by Dr. Foster F. Burnett. At the time the hospital opened there were only 25 beds available to black patients in the city's two hospitals and the seven African American doctors were not allowed to practice in either location. Community Hospital opened at 415 N. Seventh St. The first hospital in Wilmington exclusively dedicated to providing health care needs for African Americans.
The hospital had three floors and a total number of 40 patient beds, it was modern for its time. Each floor had its own nurse's station, utility area, and diet room. Special to the hospital were six private patient rooms and a six-bassinet nursery for newborns.
In 1927 a School of Nursing was opened. During the years that the Community Hospital Nursing School was open, over 250 nurses graduated from the program.
In 1958, the citizens of New Hanover County passed a bond to build a new hospital that would serve all patients, both black and white and is known today as New Hanover Regional Medical Center. The hospital opened in 1967.
Salome Taylor, Head Nurse of Community Hospital 1922-1950
Below text from Who was Salome Taylor? by Ben Steelman, Star News (2011)
A pioneer Wilmington nurse, Salome Taylor came to Wilmington in 1922 to become superintendent of nurses at Community Hospital, the city's African-American medical facility in the segregation era, originally located at 415 N. Seventh St., Wilmington [Map this]. She supervised the training of nurses at the hospital and oversaw the graduation of its first two nurses in 1924.
In 1926, her duties were increased when she succeeded Dr. Foster Burnett as superintendent of Community Hospital. She remained with the institution through its move in 1939 to a larger building at 511 S. 11th St., Wilmington [Map this].
Taylor resigned as hospital superintendent in 1940 but stayed on as superintendent of nurses until her retirement in June 1950. Under her supervision, the nursing student body greatly expanded. In 1942, the Community Hospital School of Nursing received high marks from the Standardization Board.
"Some who worked with her over a period of many years went so far as to say that Community Hospital would never have survived had it not been for Miss Taylor," Dr. Hubert A. Eaton later wrote in the Journal of the National Medical Association.
Eaton credited Taylor with helping to organize black medical professionals in Wilmington. She founded a local association of graduate nurses in 1930, serving as its first president.
Taylor retired to her home at 715 Red Cross St., Wilmington. In May 1963, the city of Wilmington declared a "Salome Taylor Day" in her honor.
Taylor trained at Lincoln Hospital in New York City. She died Jan. 3, 1964, in Wilmington at the age of 83 and was buried at Pine Forest Cemetery.
- Eaton, Hubert A. (1965). Community Hospital, Wilmington, NC, A Historical Account. Journal of the National Medical Association, 57(1), 74-79. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2610711/ (Full text)
- Pollitt, P.A. (2017). African American hospitals in North Carolina in the Jim Crow era, 1880-1967. Jefferson, NC: McFarland Press.
- 1921, Jan 13. Appointed Superintendent of Nurses. The Daily Free Press, p.4. Kinston, North Carolina.