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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.

Reference:
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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