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Wed, 08.25.1886

The Lone Star State Medical Association is Formed

*The Lone Star State Medical, Dental, and Pharmaceutical Association began on this date in 1886.  This organization of African Americans in the health field came into existence in Galveston, TX.

J. H. and L. M. Wilkins, brothers and Galveston doctors, with J. S. Cameron, a San Antonio pharmacist, and twelve men from nine towns met to establish the association, the second organization of Black professionals in the medical field in the nation.

Some among this group had especially distinguished careers, including Benjamin Jesse Covington of Houston, one of the founders of Houston Negro Hospital (now Riverside General Hospital), and Monroe Alpheus Majors of Waco, who later became the first Black physician to practice medicine west of the Rocky Mountains. The founders had approached the Texas Medical Association concerning participation, but it refused to admit them. 

After sporadic activities in the 1880s and 1890s, the association revived in 1901 through the efforts of six members who held a meeting in Austin. Thereafter it grew steadily to attain membership of almost 300 by 1928. Its members, physicians, dentists, pharmacists, and nurses—selected their first female president, A. E. Hughes, in 1934. Throughout history, the association emphasized discussing medical practice and public health education. It also reviewed hospitals and schools for nurses to provide information on standards. During the 1930s, leaders successfully urged the establishment of a state-supported tuberculosis sanatorium for Blacks at Kerrville.  Members of the Texas Medical Association spoke at sessions of the Black Association as early as 1902.

The white medical organization officially endorsed the Black Association in 1939. In 1950 the TMA began to explore the possibility of admitting Black members. After the TMA was opened to Blacks in 1955, the organization, which had been retitled the Lone Star Medical Association, remained active but declined from 250 members in 1959 to eighty in 1985 after a decision allowing dentists and pharmacists to form their groups. In 1993 Dr. Linda Howelton was president of the Lone Star Medical Association, which had a membership of approximately 400 physicians. It met annually to discuss scientific, medical, and business-related topics. Dr. Jesse Moss, Jr., was president of the medical association in 2003, with approximately 1,500 members. 

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