Daniel Hale Williams [1856-1931]

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Daniel Hale Williams was born in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania on January 18, 1856 to a free mulatto property owner and went to school in Annapolis, Maryland, Rockford, Illinois and Janesville, Wisconsin before studying medicine with a leading surgeon in his office. After five years of this study he graduated from Chicago Medical College of Northwestern University in 1883. In 1891, he founded Provident Hospital in Chicago, the first interracial hospital to train black doctors and nurses with Dr. Frank Billings as a member of the staff. In 1893, he became the first African-American surgeon to suture a pericardium. His daring--and successful--heart surgery was performed on a man who had been stabbed in the heart. Williams's other achievements are numerous and include serving as surgeon-in-chief of the Freedman's Hospital in Washington, D.C. from 1883-1898, the first African-American member of the American College of Surgeons, and professor of clinical surgery at Meharry Medical College in Nashville Tennessee. Politically, he supported W.E.B. DuBois rather than Booker T. Washington. He married Alice D. Johnson in 1898. Williams died on August 4, 1931. He is buried in Chicago's Graceland Cemetery.