Black History: Special Delivery!!
Dunbar Hospital in Detroit, MI, was founded in 1918. Healthcare for Detroit’s African Americans was severely inferior to care available for white patients. At this time more than 30,000 African-Americans lived in Detroit. The city was very segregated. Black physicians could not join the staff of Detroit’s White hospitals and patients were denied care at the city’s White hospitals. Thus, 30 Black doctors, members of the Allied Medical Society (now the Detroit Medical Society), incorporated Dunbar Hospital, the city’s first nonprofit community hospital for the African-American population.
The Allied Medical Society bought the Warren House and converted it into Dunbar Memorial Hospital. It was the former home of real estate developer Charles W. Warren. The hospital not only provided care but also sponsored nurses’ training classes and internships for graduate students. In 1928, growing demand led Dunbar Hospital to move to a larger facility several blocks away later renamed Parkside Hospital, operating under that name until 1962. The building then became the home of Charles C. Diggs, Sr., who subsequently, while living in a different location, became Michigan’s first African-American Democratic state senator.
In 1978, the successor to the Allied Medical Society, the Detroit Medical Society, purchased the house and it was designated as a historical landmark in 1979. It currently serves as administrative headquarters for the Detroit Medical Society.