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

In Pursuit of Medicine

Dr. Hunter had graduated from Central Tennessee College Medical Department which 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. James Lee Dickey began his post graduate studies here in the fall of 1917. He pledged a new fraternity on campus, Kappa Alpha Psi, whose motto, “Achievement in Every Field of Human Endeavor” paralleled James’ ambitions. His association with the Greek organization was lifelong as was evident when Mr. M. J. Anderson of Kappa Alpha Psi spoke at Dickey’s funeral forty-one years later while other fraternity members acted as pallbearers. During his time at Meharry Medical School, young James also met the love of his life, Magnolia Fowler, an education student at Fisk University, another hbcu located in Nashville. The couple planned to marry upon James’ graduation in May of 1921 and begin their married lives in the North since the demand for colored physicians had skyrocketed since the Great Migration.

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