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Fri, 12.26.1902

William Donald Brown, Physician born

William Donald Brown

*Dr. William D. Brown was born on this date in 1902. He was a Black doctor, surgeon, and community advocate.

From Minneapolis, Minnesota, he was the son of Dr. Robert S. Brown of Illinois and Julia Perrin of Iowa.  His father was the first Black medical doctor licensed to practice in Minneapolis. He graduated from Minneapolis Central High School in 1914. In 1923, Brown received his Bachelor of Arts from the College of Science at the University of Minnesota. In 1927 he received his M.S., M.B., and Doctors of Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School at the top of his class.

Minnesota’s Jim Crow segregation forced him to do his internship at Hubbard hospital in Nashville, Tennessee. During this time, Brown married his wife, Frances, and had two children: daughter Jean D. born in 1924, and William Donald Brown Jr., born in 1927.   But he returned to Minneapolis in 1927.

Segregation in Minnesota only allowed him into Fairview hospital as a “courtesy staff member,” where he was confined for nine years rather than the customary six months. In 1937, he started his private practice by opening an office on 12th and Hennepin Avenue near downtown Minneapolis.

During his lifetime, Brown was active in the state's NAACP, and Urban League and led 20th-century American Civil Rights conflicts into the courts of Minnesota. William D. Brown Sr. died in 1968.

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