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Wed, 10.12.1864

Monroe A. Majors, Physician born

Monroe Majors

*Monroe Majors was born on this date in 1864.  He was a Black physician, writer, and civil rights activist in Texas and Los Angeles.  

Monroe Alpheus Majors was born in Waco, Texas, the son of Andrew Jackson Majors and Jane Barringer. In 1869, they moved to Austin, Texas, where Majors attended Freedmen's Bureau schools. He attended West Texas College, Tillotson Normal and Collegiate Institute, and Central Tennessee College. He then attended Meharry Medical College in Nashville, graduating in 1886.  Majors then moved back to Texas to practice medicine, working in Brenham, Dallas, and Calvert.

He was the first Black doctor in Calvert. In 1886, he established the Lone Star State Medical Association for African American physicians as an alternative to the American Medical Association, which restricted Black membership. In 1888, he moved to Los Angeles, where he lectured at the Los Angeles Medical College. He was the first African American to pass the California Board of Medical Examination. Majors was also active in civil rights, first in Texas and later in California. He edited the Los Angeles Western News, advocating for Black appointments to civic positions. In 1889, Majors married Georgia A. Green, who was from Texas, and in 1890 they returned to Waco, where he practiced medicine and taught at Paul Quinn College.

He also edited a paper, the Texas Searchlight, raised money to build a hospital, and opened the first black-owned drugstore in the American Southwest. In 1893 he published Noted Negro Women. Majors wrote the book mainly to show the accomplishments of Black women but also to express the "progress" of African Americans since the end of slavery in the 1860s. He also began writing for various national Black newspapers, particularly the Indianapolis Freeman. In 1898 he moved to Decatur, Illinois. In Illinois, his life was threatened due to his writings against lynching, particularly in Decatur, shortly before he arrived, and he fled to Indianapolis, where he became an associate editor of the Freeman.

In 1899 he returned to Waco, but death threats forced him to return to the north, and he moved to Chicago in 1901. He continued practicing medicine, and in Chicago, he also wrote for many newspapers, notably the Broad Ax, the Chicago Defender, the Washington Bee, the Peoples Advocate, and the Colored American. From 1908 to 1910. he edited the Chicago Conservator. In 1908, Majors divorced Georgia A. Green. In 1909 he married Estelle C. Bonds, and he later married twice more. A daughter of Majors and Estelle was Margaret Allison, who became a noted composer. 

When Bonds and Majors divorced in 1917, Margaret's mother changed her last name from Majors to Bonds. In the 1920s, he began to lose his eyesight and was forced to curtail his work. He essentially retired from medicine in 1923. In 1933 he moved back to Los Angeles, where he died aged 96 on December 10, 1960.

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