While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Lisa C. Maxwell

PINKSTON, LEE GRESHAM (1883–1961). Lee Gresham Pinkston, black surgeon, publisher, and political activist, was born in Forest, Mississippi, on August 16, 1883, the son of Ritten and Fannie Pinkston. He attended Meridian Academy in Forest before completing his education at Alcorn College and receiving his M. D. at Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tennessee. In 1910 he moved to Texas and began private practice in Terrell, where he later opened a clinic and drugstore. In 1912 he married Viola Marie Shaw in Terrell; they had two children. In 1921 the family moved to Dallas, where Pinkston worked at the McMillan Sanatorium, at the corner of Hall and State streets. In 1927 he opened up his own clinic, the Pinkston Clinic Hospital, the third clinic in Dallas to be open strictly to blacks and the only one operating at that time. He was accepted in 1954 as a member of St. Paul Hospital, the first of five black doctors to receive the honor at that time, and remained in that position until his death in 1961.

In 1936 Pinkston helped found the Democratic Progressive Voters League; during many years as president and member of the executive committee, he encouraged black Americans to unify their vote. During World War II he was a member of the Dallas County Selective Service Board. He was a Methodist, a member of the Dallas County Medical Society, president of the Negro Chamber of Commerce, president and publisher of the Star Post Newspaper, president of Western Mutual Life Insurance Company, and a member of the board of directors of Wiley College in Marshall. In 1954 he received the Dallas Citizen Council Award for his work in medical advancement, interracial achievement, and civic affairs. Pinkston died on January 6, 1961, in Dallas, of a heart attack suffered after a car accident. He was buried at Pinkston Cemetery.

Dallas Express, January 14, 1961. Dallas Morning News, January 7, 1961. Vertical File, Dallas Public Library.

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, Lisa C. Maxwell, "PINKSTON, LEE GRESHAM," accessed August 12, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fpitm.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...