Freedman’s Hospital Washington, D.C.

February 1, 2012 by staff 

Freedman’s Hospital Washington, D.C., Forerunner of the Howard University Hospital, Freedmen’s Hospital served the black community in the District of Columbia for more than a century. First established in 1862 on the grounds of the Camp Barker, 13th and R Streets, NW, Freedmen’s Hospital and Asylum cared for freed, disabled, and aged blacks.

In 1863, it was placed under Dr. Alexander Augusta, the first African-American to head a hospital. After the Civil War, it became the teaching hospital of Howard University Medical School, established in 1868, while remaining under federal control. Early in the 20th century, Congress authorized the construction of a new hospital which was completed in 1909. When Abraham Flexner visited the District of Columbia that year, he was impressed by the new, 278-bed Freedmen’s Hospital and thought only Howard University Medical School in the city had a promising future. In 1967,

Freedmen’s Hospital was transferred to Howard University and used as a hospital until 1975. The University Hospital is now located in a modern facility at 2041 Georgia Avenue, NW.

The original Freedmen’s building (Bryant and 6th Streets) still stands and now houses Howard University’s John H. Johnson School of Communications. Freedmen’s Hall, a permanent museum located at the University Hospital, is devoted to the history of medical education and health care at Howard University.

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