Black History month is a time to look at our past, present, and future as a community; It is a time to celebrate the triumphs and recognize the struggles of all Black men and women throughout history. As we celebrate triumphs we at ATCPHD would like to honor the many Black medical pioneers who were key in bettering our healthcare system. One such trailblazer was a local Abilene man, Dr. William Butler. In 1910, Dr. Butler received his degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, one of the few institutions in the U.S. to issue medical degrees to Black students at the time. He began practicing medicine in 1914, and primarily cared for Black patients, though he also treated White and Hispanic patients as well.
In 1932, Dr. Butler moved to Abilene and opened his practice, out of his home, at 701 Mesquite street. He became the first Black physician in Abilene and served the community until his retirement in 1945. Suffice to say, he stayed very busy as he also offered dental and pharmaceutical services.
Dr. Butler not only created a more inclusive healthcare landscape, but he inspired his own son to follow in his footsteps to become a physician. He truly paved the way for Black men and women to pursue jobs in the medical field as well as other leadership positions within our community.