The Florida Department of State awarded Florida A&M a historical marker for its hospital during the university’s annual Black History Convocation on Thursday.
The marker honors the former hospital for its contributions to the state and to the African-American community.
Joseph Webster, an alumnus who founded the only black-owned surgical center dedicated to endoscopic surgery in North Florida, Webster Surgical Center, keynoted the convocation. He said the significance of a university is measured by its relevance to its community.
“For 60 years, FAMU was the only hospital black people could go to in Tallahassee, and all of that health care was provided without pay,” Webster said.
According to the university’s website, the FAMU Hospital served as the only medical facility for blacks within 150 miles of the Tallahassee area from 1950-1971 and allowed FAMU to introduce its pharmacy and nursing programs. The university’s hospital was a teaching facility and was available to serve students and the Tallahassee community.
Interim President Larry Robinson spoke about the contributions the hospital made in his convocation address.
“During its existence, the hospital helped to solidify FAMU as an institution with world-class nursing and pharmacy programs,” Robinson said.
Eveline Duhart, a retired librarian who attended the convocation, said the hospital deserved to be honored and acknowledged.
“The hospital was the only place that black people could get medical attention back then,” Duhart said. “It definitely had an impact on the community.”
The historical marker will be placed on the corner of West Palmer and Adams streets.
According to its website, the Florida Historical Marker Program recognizes historic resources, persons and events and seeks to increase public awareness of rich cultural heritage of Florida.