On this day in Alabama history: State’s first female doctor was born

On this day in Alabama history: State’s first female doctor was born
Portrait of Halle Tanner Dillon. (Wikipedia)

October 17, 1864

Halle Tanner Dillon was born Oct. 17, 1864 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. As a child, her home was a haven for prominent guests, including abolitionist Frederick Douglass. At age 24, she entered the Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, the only African-American in her class, and graduated with honors in 1891. Dillon was introduced by letter to Booker T. Washington and traveled to Tuskegee Institute to be the school physician. To pass Alabama certification, Dillon answered questions from an all-white board of examiners over several days. Her passage was noted in the 1892 Medical Association of the State of Alabama journal, and she became the first woman to practice medicine in Alabama. She served Tuskegee Institute (1891-94), married a minister math teacher and ceased practicing medicine to raise their three sons. She died in 1901.

Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.

This illustration depicts the main building of Tuskegee Normal School at the time of its founding in 1881. What is now Tuskegee University was originally established to provide teacher training for African-Americans in Macon County. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of the A.S. Williams III Americana Collection, The University of Alabama Libraries)














For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.

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