Due to technical difficulties, some of the video links in this website no longer work. We are uncertain as to when or if we will be able to correct these problems. However, the video clips constitute only a small portion of the material in this website. Moreover, the full transcripts of the oral histories from which the video clips were drawn can be found by following the "Resources" link below.

To Bear Fruit For Our Race College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences

Story Experience

“Here at Houston Negro Hospital, our beginning is humble, but through hard work will bear fruit for our race.” In his address as the hospital’s new Executive Director in 1947, Dr. J. Edward Perry expressed the hopes of Houston’s African-American physicians.


This exhibit, To Bear Fruit for Our Race, explores the history of these physicians. With the persistence of Jim Crow laws and other discriminatory practices through much of the twentieth century, these medical pioneers faced obstacles but also found opportunities to improve the lives of their families, their patients, and their community. Their history is intertwined with the growth of Houston, dramatic changes in the practice of medicine, and a nation’s long–awaited fulfillment of its promise of equality and freedom for all. The exhibit shares many stories, including those of:

Dr. Franklin Robey, c. 1880s


A man born a slave who became one of the first black doctors in Houston

Photo of Dr. Irby Jones


A woman who broke the color barrier at the University of Arkansas medical school in 1948

Photo of Houston Medical Forum members


Houston Medical Forum members who campaigned for civil rights in the 1960s

Photo of Dr. Bernard Harris in space suit


A native Houstonian who realized dual dreams as physician and astronaut and “touched” the stars

Center for Public History | Office: 524 Agnes Arnold Hall | (713) 743-3120