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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Andrew Best, April 19, 1997. Interview R-0011. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Segregated black community relies on its sole black doctor

Best was the only African-American physician in his area for two decades. He notes that because his community relied on his constant presence, he could rarely travel. White doctors did cover for him, though, when he needed to leave the area.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Andrew Best, April 19, 1997. Interview R-0011. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

For twenty-some years, I was the only black physician in Pitt or Martin counties, and my patient geographical area was Pitt, Martin, Lenoir, Craven, Edgecombe, Wayne, all around. I enjoyed a pretty widespread geographical area of people who would come in for family medicine. Fortunately, and to my great relief, the number of doctors settling in the area [has increased]. Now, we have three other practicing minority physicians in town. [Phone ringing]
ANDREW BEST:
The presence of these other minority doctors has done a lot for me, because before, when I was here by myself, I didn't always have the luxury of coverage that I have now. There were certain of my white doctor friends who, for those twenty-some years, did a good job of covering for me. Nobody ever denied coverage if I said I'm going to a professional meeting. But if I said I just wanted to go down to the ocean and get lost for two or three days, somehow or another, the wife always had something she wanted them to do! I laughed about that, I'd make a joke about it. But the presence of minority doctors has made my life much more bearable.