- Get Involved
DICKERSON, SPENCER C.
DICKERSON, SPENCER C. (1871–1948). Spencer C. Dickerson, physician and army officer, was born on December 1, 1871, to Patrick and Eliza Dickerson in Austin, Texas. He completed his early education in Austin and attended Tillotson (now Huston-Tillotson) College. After a stint of schoolteaching at Nashville, Tennessee, he entered the University of Chicago, where he excelled in both academics and sports. He worked with famed athletic director Alonzo Amos Stagg. Dickerson earned a B.S. in 1897, did graduate work at Northwestern University, and received the M.D. degree from Rush Medical College in Chicago in 1901. He interned at Freedmen's Hospital in Washington, D.C., in 1902 and began medical practice the same year at New Bedford, Massachusetts, where he remained for five years.
He subsequently returned to Chicago and became the first black pathologist at Provident Hospital. At this institution he was ophthalmologist and otolaryngologist, 1920–37; departmental chairman, 1930–37; chairman of the executive committee, 1943–46; and chairman emeritus, 1937–48. He also served as public school examining physician and as president of the Chicago Assembly, a medical organization. His awards included an honorary doctor of science degree from Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, in 1945; Distinguished Alumni Citation, University of Chicago, 1946; and Charles Victor Roman Medal for service in the John A. Andrew Clinical Society, Tuskegee, Alabama, 1946.
Dickerson enlisted in the lowest grade of the sanitary detachment, Eighth Illinois Infantry National Guard, in 1914. He was mustered into federal service for Mexican border duty in 1916 at the rank of first lieutenant. He reported for World War I service with the redesignated 370th Infantry in 1917 and received promotion to captain in the medical corps the following year. He garrisoned Camp Logan, Texas, prior to assignment to France. After returning from overseas in February 1919, Dickerson attained the federally recognized ranks of major in 1926, colonel in 1929, and commanding officer, Eighth Illinois Infantry, in 1929. He retired as brigadier general, Illinois National Guard, in 1934, the first black Texan to attain this rank. He died on February 25, 1948, at Billings Hospital, Chicago, of a heart ailment. He was survived by his wife, Daisy, two sisters, and a brother. Grace Presbyterian Church held a memorial service.
BIBLIOGRAPHY:Ocania Chalk, Black College Sport (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1976). U. G. Dailey, "Brig. General Spencer C. Dickerson, B.S., M.D., 1871–1948," Journal of the National Medical Association 40 (July 1948). Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, eds., Dictionary of American Negro Biography (New York: Norton, 1982).
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Garna L. Christian, "DICKERSON, SPENCER C.," accessed September 22, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fdi35.
Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.