Southeastern North Carolina Black History Month facts: Week 2
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - WECT proudly celebrates Black History Month.
All month long we will highlight places, people, and moments that shaped Black history in southeastern North Carolina.
Feb. 7: Minnie Evans
Minnie Evans is recognized as one of the nation’s foremost self-taught visionary artists.
Evans came to Wilmington with her mother in 1893, when she was a year old.
She would eventually work for the family of Sarah Green Jones -- the one who established Airlie Gardens.
Evans would paint portraits in the gardens where she was once the gatekeeper.
Local artists created a memorial sculpture garden within Airlie in her honor -- the Bottle Chapel, sculptures, and its garden were constructed in 2004.
Feb. 8: Community Hospital
Community Hospital opened in 1921 on North 7th Street. It was the first hospital to exclusively serve African Americans.
A new hospital was later built on 11th Street in 1939.
James Walker Hospital in Wilmington was predominantly white.
There was a special section for Black people, but doctors were not allowed to treat patients there.
In 1958, New Hanover County residents approved a bond to build a new hospital that would serve all patients, both black and white.
New Hanover Regional Medical Center would open in 1967.
The Community Hospital was torn down in 1978.
Feb. 9: Althea Gibson
In 1946, Althea Gibson moved to Wilmington and started training at the home of Dr. Hubert A. Eaton.
She later graduated from Williston High School.
She went on to become the first African American to win the U.S. Nationals, which later became the U.S. Open.
She was the first black tennis player to win a Grand Slam title in 1956. A year later, she won the women’s single and doubles at Wimbledon.
The tennis complex at Empie Park is named after her.
Gibson was inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1971.
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