This blog post is near and dear to my heart. The unsung hero I will be featuring was discovered during my intern days. My intern days were my serious hustle days. I volunteered and interned for a few institutions while taking grad courses and working. I've always been a hustler, but my intern days were crazy! Now that I look back, I really don't know how I managed it all.
Anyways, I volunteered at smaller organizations since they needed the most help. I came across the name Louise Young when I volunteered at The Baltimore City Archives (BCA). My project involved organizing and curating an online exhibit of images from The Public Housing Project in Baltimore. The Collection has hundreds of photos of the African American community living their everyday lives in the late 1930s. The photographer thought he was simply capturing images of the buildings to be sold or demolished, but he unintentionally documented the journey of this displaced community. I recommend checking out Not In My Neighborhood by Antero Pietila. This book dives into white supremacy attitudes and how they influenced housing in the 20th century. The real life accounts and evidence makes it one of my favs. Click here for more information on the Public Housing Project in Baltimore.
Ok, now that I've re-lived some of my glory days, let's jump into Dr. Nellie Louise Young (1907-1997),
Louise Young was a Baltimore native and the first African-American woman to practice medicine in Maryland. She specialized in obstetrics and gynecology and served in numerous city and state medical capacities during her career. Dr. Young operated in private practice and was she was definitely for the culture. She was the women's physician at Morgan State College and was also the girls' physician at Frederick Douglass High and staff physician at the Maryland Training School for Girls. She also operated a Planned Parenthood clinic. I could list her entire career, but that will keep you here all day.
Dr. Young was a highly prestigious woman. Below you'll see a letter she wrote to W.E.B. Du Bois, March 8, 1934, requesting information on the upcoming NAACP conference. Her father was a first as well; he was the state's first Black pharmacist. Click here to see letter and business card.
This next line is not a historical fact but merely a statement. She was freaking gorgeous, and her outfits were love! Since I've been documenting my future author journey on my YouTube channel, I now wear matching outfits, and I’m giving my sweatpants a break. I commend the ladies I come across in history; they were so effortlessly fabulous.
Dr. Young broke many barriers, both sex, and race. She opened her practice, first on Druid Hill Avenue and Later on Garrison Boulevard. The image below is the image I came across at The BCA. I fell in love with the image before I even knew the story. Of course, I stopped by the Druid Hill address after my day at the archives. The building is abandoned, but that doesn’t take away from the nostalgic feeling I get when I walk by.
As I stated in my Rep Your City post, Baltimore has a lot of history and culture. Dr. Nellie Louise Young was just one of the many that made Baltimore so rich.