Dr Cornelius Nathaniel Garland

By Brother David L. Carl

Bro. Dr. Garland in his Office, Plymouth Hospital, Boston's South End.

Bro. Dr. Garland in his Office, Plymouth Hospital, Boston’s South End.

In 1903, Dr. Garland brought his medical skills and surgical training to Boston, passing the state board exam with high honors. However, he found Boston’s hospitals, including the largest, Boston City Hospital, would not train Black medical and nursing students. Concerned not only with aiding the sick and poor, but with the training opportunities, he countered by purchasing a building to establish the Plymouth Hospital.

Equipped with an operating room and “all modern improvements”, at a time when fewer than twenty black hospitals existed in the entire country, he offered free medical, surgical, and nursing care to anyone without the means to pay, and opportunities for clinical work to physicians, and a nurses training program to anyone with a grammar school education.

A grateful community in need responded with donations of blankets, bottles, rugs, and tea kettles. Plymouth Hospital and Dr. Garland stood as a model to a city for decades— non-sectarian and non-discriminating in management, open to all who in need of medical or surgical aid, regardless of race, color, religion or finance.

Brother Garland provide free medical, surgical and nursing care to all in need for decades, and still flourished to become one of Boston’s richest surgeons.