Charles V. Roman
Physician, Writer, Educator, Historian (1864-1934)
CHARLES VICTOR ROMAN was born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, and educated at Hamilton Collegiate Institute in Ontario, Canada. Because of racial discrimination in the United States, African Americans in search of higher education often went abroad to study. On his return, Roman became office assistant to Robert F. Boyd, a practicing physician, professor at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, and founder of Mercy Hospital, Nashville, then the largest hospital in the South to be owned and managed by African Americans.
In 1899, Roman graduated with a medical degree from Meharry and subsequently attended first the Post-Graduate Medical School and Hospital of Chicago and then the Royal Ophthalmic Hospital and Central London Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital in England. He opened his first medical practice in Dallas, Texas, and then opened a practice specializing in otolaryngology in Nashville, Tennessee.
Roman was founder and first head of the Department of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology at Meharry Medical College, where he also served as professor of medical history and ethics.
He also was Director of Health at Fisk University, Nashville, wrote a history of Meharry Medical College, and was President of the National Medical Association and the first editor of the Journal of the National Medical Association. He wrote prolifically for the Journal, while also undertaking an active professional life as speaker, organizer, and educator.
The excerpt published here, one of Roman’s many contributions to the Journal of the National Medical Association, demonstrates his energy, passion, and eloquence. He first delivered this as an address at the Semi-Centennial Celebrations of Howard University in Washington, DC, on March 2, 1917.