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Oral History Interview with Andrew Best, April 19, 1997. Interview R-0011. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Activist and physician Andrew Best describes his experiences as an African American medical practitioner in North Carolina during the civil rights era, and his own efforts to desegregate medical practice and spur integration in other arenas across the state. After attending all-black schools, including one of the few medical schools that admitted African Americans, and fighting in World War II in a segregated regiment, Best devoted himself to integrating the medical practice in his community as well as changing the mindsets of segregationists. He did so using a variety of methods, but his primary tool was communication. A member of at least two interracial organizations, he sought to convince both the black and white communities of the wisdom of integration. Posing the most significant challenge to his goal were the die-hard segregationists who might, for example, refuse service at a store even to a black doctor who had just treated an injured white police officer. This interview provides a detailed look at the dismantling of segregated medicine and the enduring obstacles to equality of care.
    Excerpts
  • A biography: segregation in schools, an army regiment, and a medical school
  • Encountering segregation in North Carolina medical practice
  • Fighting segregation in hospitals
  • Seeking to sway others to the integrationist cause
  • Desegregating East Carolina University
  • Poor background shapes activist identity
  • Humanitarian tendencies clash with a racist South
  • Organizations try to anticipate racial troubles
  • Black doctors' ability to respond to needs of black patients
  • Segregated black community relies on its sole black doctor
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.