Georgia Historical Society to dedicate Civil Rights Trail marker

Aug. 9—ATLANTA — The Georgia Historical Society, in conjunction with the Rich Foundation, the Georgia State Medical Association, and the Atlanta Medical Association, dedicate a historical marker recently discussing the National Medical Association's role in the civil rights movement at the First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ in Atlanta.

The National Medical Association is the nation's oldest and largest organization representing African-American physicians and health professionals in the United States. The NMA was founded in 1895 in the meeting room at the First Congregational Church in Atlanta to foster the education and support of physicians of African descent because the American Medical Association barred their membership. Today, the national professional and scientific organization represents the interests of more than 50,000 African-American physicians and the patients they serve.

"'The National Medical Association: Medicine in the Civil Rights Movement' historical marker is the first of five new markers funded by a grant from The Rich Foundation to expand the story of the American Civil Rights Movement in the Atlanta area," W. Todd Groce, president and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society, said. "The NMA historical marker highlights the medical profession's contributions to the civil rights movement and provides a unique perspective by illustrating the struggle for human and civil rights in public health from the Jim Crow era through today."

From its inception, the NMA advocated for the racial equality of African-American physicians and patients. During the civil rights movement, it campaigned for the desegregation of the AMA. The NMA supported integrationist public policies like the Social Security Acts amendments, which created Medicare and Medicaid. These acts required the enforcement of the Civil Rights Act, leading to the integration of facilities wherever federal funds were used, such as public hospitals. Today, the NMA remains an advocate for health care equality and is the oldest continuously existing medical society for African Americans.

To learn more about the National Medical Association historical marker, contact Keith Strigaro, director of communications at the Georgia Historical Society, at (912) 651-2125, extension 153, or