Whittaker Memorial Hospital

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The Whittaker Memorial Hospital in Newport News was conceived and operated during the era of segregation, when African American patients and physicians were largely isolated from the mainstream medical care available to whites. The hospital resulted from the vision of two African American physicians, Drs. Walter T. Foreman and Robert L. Whittaker, who wanted to provide quality medical care to the city’s growing Black population during the first half of the 20th century. Prior to the hospital’s founding in 1908, the only medical care available to the city’s black citizens was a clinic housed in the city jail. During its history, Whittaker Memorial Hospital occupied three buildings: a rented house, a frame hospital built in 1915, and the current building. Designed by two prominent African American architects (William Henry Moses, Jr. and Charles Thaddeus Russell) and an engineer, the 1943 hospital building had a 58-bed capacity but grew to 166 beds with two later additions. Whittaker Memorial Hospital served the city’s Black community until closing in 1985, and is one of a few African American hospitals in the U.S. built and designed by African American physicians and architects.

Last Updated: March 14, 2024

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VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

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Newport News (Ind. City)


Walker-Wilkins-Bloxom Warehouse Historic District

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Basic Construction Building

Newport News (Ind. City)