It is not easy to speak about the part which the Negro physician is taking in the war effort of Washington. The difficulty lies, not in finding things of which to speak, but in finding them different from the work which other American doctors are assuming in similar communities every where.

     The Negro physician in Washington has expressed his willingness to work at all of the tasks for which doctors are required. He has demonstrated that he can carry his share of the burden if given the chance to do so. In many parts of the war effort, our men are working and sacrificing daily. I shall attempt to outline for you the part we are taking as physicians, hoping that you will realize, in listening, that we do not feel this part is unusual. We want in common with all physicians, to do everything within the scope of our training and several abilities to help bring this war to a victorious conclusion.

     The Negro physicians in the District of Columbia have contributed their share of men to the Army of the United States. At the present time more than fourteen of our doctors hold commissions in the Medical Corps. Of these, three hold the rank of Major and at least four others have been commissioned as Captains. Many are using their special skills in the base hospital of the 92nd Division of the Army. Others are serving with troops in places which we cannot know of. Letters from these men tell us that they, in common with Negro physicians at home, are seeking give the best service they can according to their training and ability.

     In the local Selective Service System, the Negro physician has taken a full part since the beginning. The Freedmen’s Hospital, a local institution, manned almost entirely by Negro doctors, volunteered its facilities for physical examinations of selectees.

     Since December of 1940, over 160 sessions have been held by the Freedman’s Hospital Examining Unit for which an estimated 8,000 physician-hours have been given without compensation. This Unit has established an enviable reputation in regard to accuracy of diagnosis and efficiency. Its performance has been shown statistically to stand well above the average of other units all over the country.


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November 2000