I $5M: C  N  R C In honor of Black History Month, Collins Chapel Connectional Hospital, 409 Ayers Avenue, Memphis, TN, held a Reunion Day Tour and Celebration on Saturday, February 22, 2020, in honor of all professionals, workers who received training, patients who received services, and persons born at the facility. The event was a fundraiser held in advance of the Living Legacy Brunch scheduled for 10:30 am, Saturday, March 14, 2020, at Esplanade Banquet & Conference Center, 901 Cordova Station Avenue in Cordova, TN. Story and Pictures by Dr. Yvonne D. Nelson Originally located at 418 Ashland Court, Memphis, TN, in 1910, the Collins Chapel Connectional Hospital (CCCH) had an operating room, maternity ward, and a connectional ward when Dr. W. S. Martin became the superintendent in 1920. During the height of pre-civil rights era, the facility moved to 409 Ayers Avenue, in a building designed by Frank Graham Rice of the old Norton and Rice Architects. During those years, CCCH was the only facility available in Memphis providing quality healthcare services to the African American community in Memphis, TN. The facility continues to hold the title for being the only faith-based owned African American healthcare facility in the United States. Owned by the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, the CCCH was the only hospital in Memphis to admit African American patients, allow African American doctors and nurses to practice medicine, and to provide training for African American’s wanting to pursue a career in the medical ield until the Civil Rights Act of 1964 removed segregation and led to the requirement of blacks to be treated at other hospitals. Although this resulted in the closing of CCCH, it reopened as a nursing home in the 70s and remained open for nearly the entire next decade. The facility closed due to much needed repairs in 2010. Mt. Olive CME Church Pastor, Rev. Peris Lester opened the Reunion Day celebration with a prayer and CCCH Chairman, Bishop Henry M. Williamson Sr., Presiding Prelate of the CME First Episcopal Church, provided the historical signiicance of the hospital and spoke about the $5 million dollar renovation project currently underway. Conveniently located in the medical district neighboring the Veteran’s Administration Hospital, Methodist Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, Regional One Health, UT Center for Health Sciences and other hospitals, the goal of the project is to renovate the CCCH into a 28-bed specialized healthcare facility and skilled nursing facility. The facility will employ registered professional nurses for physical and occupational therapy patients, medically-needy patients, short- and long-term rehabilitation and care returning it to its former status of being a professional medical training facility for the vast number of healthcare students entering the industry for years to come. The CCCH’s approved Certiicate of Need will allow for specialized and individualized custodial care, physical, speech, and occupational therapy, medication management, bed and board, social services, and dietitian and nutrition program services to be offered. A brief recognition of persons born, treated, and/or employed at the facility including relatives of those who practiced during the height of the organization’s history spoke and brief remarks were scheduled to be made by Paul Young, City of Memphis’s Director of Housing and Community Development, Rev. Dr. Keith Norman, Pastor, First Baptist Broad Church and Vice President, Government Relations at Baptist Memorial Healthcare Corporation, Willeen Hastings, CEO at Memphis Health Center, Inc., Rev. Dr. D’Arcy Deveaux, Pastor, Emmanuel Baptist Church and Regional One Health Spiritual care Liaison and Staff Chaplin, Vickie Haynes Terry, ED, NAACP Memphis Chapter, Shelby County Commissioners Eddie Jones and Reginald Milton, and others. Lynette Long, daughter of Henretta PHOTO By Yvonne D. Nelson 14

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