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James Francis Shober was born on this date in 1853. He was a Black doctor and the first Black physician in North Carolina.
He was born in Salem (now Winston-Salem), N. C., possibly to Francis Edwin Shober, who was of the Salem Moravian Community. His dad was a successful politician and businessman who served in the state legislature and the U.S. Congress. He was also a co-founder of the first Sunday school in North Carolina and a law graduate of the University of North Carolina. His mother was a slave named Betsy Ann. In 1859 when James Francis was between 6 and 7, he was sent back to the Waugh Plantation in Waughtown, where his grandmother and his mother’s other siblings lived.
Shober graduated second in his class from Lincoln University in Oxford, PA, in 1875 with an A. B. degree. He went to Howard University's School of Medicine, where he was one of 48 graduates in the class of 1878 and the only one from North Carolina. Although several other Blacks may have been licensed doctors sometime after Emancipation, Shober was the first Black doctor to graduate from a regular medical school in North Carolina and was thus the first "official" Black doctor in North Carolina.
His wife, Anna Marie Taylor Shober, was an educator and taught at the Peabody School in Wilmington. His daughters both graduated from Fisk University and pursued several professions.
James Shober died quite young on the 1st of January 1889 at 36.
Wilmington Star, 2003
Article by Ben Steelman
Wilmington Star (SC, USA)