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.
- 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.