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*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 medicine was cultivated at a young age. She graduated from Herring Medical College in Chicago in 1899. She first practiced in Normal, Alabama, and 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.