Louis T. Wright

Quick Look At Wright

Louis Tompkins Wright was a surgeon, medical researcher, and political activist.

Early Life and Education

Louis T. Wright was born on July 23, 1891, in La Grange, Georgia. His parents were former slaves, and after being freed, his father worked as a doctor. In 1911, Wright graduated from Clark University in Atlanta with his bachelor's degree. He then went on to medical school at Harvard University. He faced some discrimination at Harvard. One of his professors wouldn't allow him to deliver babies at a white hospital. Wright spoke up to his professors when he was being treated differently. He joined the NAACP and missed weeks of his class due to his activism, but still managed to graduate 4th in his class. In 1915, he graduated with his medical degree.


He completed his internship at Freedman's Hospital in D.C. During World War I, Wright served in France as a lieutenant in the Army Medical Corps and he ran a field hospital. Due to his bravery and service during the war, he was awarded the Purple Heart. When WWI ended, Wright started a small general hospital in Harlem, and while running his hospital, he became the first African American appointed to Harlem Hospital's surgical staff. He stayed involved with the NAACP and in 1929, Wright was appointed Police Surgeon by the New York Police and was the first Black person to do so. In 1935, he became chairman of the NAACP, and in 1943, he became the first Black Chief of Surgery at Harlem Hospital. In his career, Wright wrote a total of 89 scientific papers and helped develop many new antibiotics. In 1940, he was awarded the Spingarn Medal from the NAACP. Wright died on October 8, 1952, of a heart attack.

Though his life was short, Wright did a lot throughout his career. He helped hundreds of people and inspired thousands more.