James Lee Dickey: An Analysis of One African-American's Leadership in Jim Crow Texas


Upon graduation, James joined the faculty of Booker T. Washington School, a newly constructed colored high school in Marlin, Texas, teaching Industrial Arts. James quickly realized it was not his calling. He had found a new passion while boarding with Dr. and Mrs. A. L. Hunter. Dr. Hunter’s successful clinic was typical of African-American medical practices in the early twentieth century in which the physician dedicated a portion of his personal residence as an office. Since most African-Americans associated hospitals with death, they would sooner seek medical advice in the comfort of a home than in a medical office.
Dr. Hunter was an alumnus of the Meharry Medical Department of Central Tennessee College in Nashville, Tennessee.  Central Tennessee was another example of an HBCU established with the assistance of the Methodist church to help educate freed slaves and their descendants. In 1915, Meharry was chartered as a separate medical school creating the first medical school for African Americans in the South. By the end of the school year, James Dickey had decided to be a doctor.

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