Title: Oral History Interview with Andrew Best, April 19, 1997. Interview R-0011.
Interviewer: Thomas, Karen Kruse
Interviewee: Best, Andrew
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.