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Samuel G. Elbert
*On this date in 1865, Samuel G. Elbert, Sr. was born. He was a Black Doctor, Businessman, Civic, and Community Leader.
He was born on a farm near Chestertown, Maryland. He received an early education in the primary schools of Chestertown and later entered the pre-medical program at Howard University in Washington, D.C. In 1891, he graduated from the Howard University Medical School. For advanced study, Elbert did post-graduate medical courses at the University of Pennsylvania and received a degree in 1894.
At the turn-of-the-century, Elbert moved to Wilmington and started his practice, serving the Black community. The city of Wilmington had a colony of educated, prosperous Blacks who had developed a successful way of life. They owned property, maintained a high standard of living, sent their children to Sunday school, high school, and out-of-state colleges. Since the color line was drawn for all Blacks, these restrictions allowed them to assume leadership in the Black community. Elbert became one of those leaders, devoting much of his time to the advancement of education for his people.
Between 1927 and 1931, he was a member of the Wilmington Board of Education. An astute businessman and civic leader, he also made his presence felt in the area of politics. As a lifetime Republican, Elbert embraced the party of Lincoln and remained an active member. He was a delegate from Delaware to two national Republican conventions. Elbert became the first Black member to serve on the Board of Trustees of the State College for Colored Students at Dover, Delaware (now Delaware State University). Elbert served for 15 years, from 1918-1933. He was actively involved with the National Negro Business League. Ownership, technical assistance, business planning, and profitable operations were the key goals of the organization.
According to League records, in 1906, at the sixth annual meeting, Dr. Samuel G. Elbert was elected second vice president. Elbert’s son followed in his father’s footsteps and became one of the leaders in the medical field for the Black community. His practicing office was on French Street for more than two decades. Elbert, Sr. commitment to Black education, civic pride, and business organization all attributed to his success as an effective community leader. One of the first Blacks to open a medical practice in the State of Delaware was Dr. Samuel G. Elbert, Sr. who died in 1939.