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Sun, 01.22.1871

Justina Ford, Doctor and Humanitarian

Justina Ford

*The birth of Justina Ford in 1871 is marked on this date. She was a Black physician and humanitarian.

From Knoxville, a small town a few miles east of Galesburg, Illinois Justina Laurena Warren grew up in Galesburg.  Her interest in the practice of medicine was apparently cultivated at a young age. She graduated from Herring Medical College in Chicago in 1899.   She first practiced in Normal, Alabama, soon after she met and married John E. Ford who was a young minister.  The couple moved to Denver, Colorado.

Throughout her career, Dr. Ford faced the obstacles of being both Black and a woman in a profession that much of society felt belonged to white males. She attended Zion Baptist Church and was the first woman physician licensed to practice medicine in Colorado.

As a doctor breaking down barriers for Blacks and women, Ford also worked as a humanitarian: her expertise in gynecology, obstetrics, and pediatrics was often provided to low-income and indigent people of all races. She delivered over 7000 babies during her distinguished practice of more than 50 years; she became affectionately known as the “Lady Doctor.” Ford received numerous awards; her legacy lives through the Black America West Museum and Heritage Center, the Dr. Justina Ford Medical Society, and the Ford-Warren Library.

The Colorado Medical Society, which denied Ford membership until 1950, passed a resolution in 1989 honoring her posthumously “as an outstanding figure in the development and furtherance of health care in Colorado.” Justina Laurena Carter Ford died in 1952.

Black Women in America An Historical Encyclopedia
Volumes 1 and 2, edited by Darlene Clark Hine
Copyright 1993, Carlson Publishing Inc., Brooklyn, New York
ISBN 0-926019-61-9

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