Dickey received many honors for his community service. He was named the year's most outstanding citizen of Taylor in 1953 by the chamber of commerce, the first time a black man had been so honored in the community. He was also named general practitioner of the year by the Lone Star State Medical, Dental, and Pharmaceutical Association in 1953.
DR. JAMES LEE DICKEY
PHYSICIAN, HUMANITARIAN, CIVIL RIGHTS ADVOCATE AND CONCERNED CITIZEN DR. JAMES LEE DICKEY (d. 1959) HAD A PROFOUND EFFECT ON THE QUALITY OF LIFE IN HIS ADOPTED HOMETOWN OF TAYLOR. BORN IN McLENNAN COUNTY IN 1893, HE ATTENDED WACO PUBLIC SCHOOLS AND TILLOTSON COLLEGE, AUSTIN. MILITARY SERVICE IN WORLD WAR I INTERRUPTED HIS TRAINING AT MEHARRY MEDICAL COLLEGE IN NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE, BUT UPON GRADUATION IN 1921, HE RETURNED TO CENTRAL TEXAS TO HELP HIS WIDOWED MOTHER RAISE HIS EIGHT SIBLINGS. HE SETTLED IN TAYLOR WITH HIS WIFE, MAGNOLIA (FOWLER) (1902-1959), AS THE CITY'S ONLY AFRICAN AMERICAN DOCTOR AT THE TIME.
DR. DICKEY WORKED HARD TO ADDRESS THE PUBLIC HEALTH NEEDS OF TAYLOR, CALLING FOR IMPROVEMENTS TO THE LOCAL WATER SUPPLY AND HEADING A COMMUNITY EFFORT AGAINST AN OUTBREAK OF TYPHOID FEVER IN 1932-33. A CLINIC HE OPENED IN A HOUSE AT THAT TIME EXPANDED TO SERVE RESIDENTS OF THE CITY AND COUNTIES IN THE SURROUNDING AREA. HE DEVELOPED PROGRAMS FOR INFANT CARE AND WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN ADMITTING AFRICAN AMERICAN PATIENTS TO STATE TUBERCULAR CLINICS.
DR. DICKEY'S ADVOCACY EXTENDED BEYOND HEALTH CARE TO EDUCATION AND CIVIL RIGHTS. HE WORKED FOR PASSAGE OF SCHOOL BONDS AND IMPROVEMENTS, AND LED EFFORTS FOR LOCAL RECREATIONAL FACILITIES AND FEDERAL HOUSING. HE WAS ALSO A FOUNDER OF THE TAYLOR NEGRO CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND SERVED AS A TRUSTEE OF TILLOTSON COLLEGE.
FOR HIS EFFORTS, DR. DICKEY RECEIVED NUMEROUS AWARDS AND HONORS, INCLUDING DISTINCTION BY THE TAYLOR CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AS MAN OF THE YEAR IN 1952. HIS GREATEST REWARDS, HOWEVER, CAME THROUGH HIS LASTING CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE CITIZENS OF TAYLOR. AS HE NOTED, "TO LIVE IN THE HEARTS OF THOSE WE LEAVE BEHIND IS NOT TO DIE."
IV. The Dickey Clinic, Taylor
The Dickey Clinic, Taylor
The tireless efforts of Dr. James Lee Dickey, the first African-American doctor in Williamson County, significantly impacted the citizens of Taylor, Williamson County, and Texas.
Dickey was born in central Texas, near Waco, in 1893. He attended Waco public schools and later graduated from Tillotson College in Austin. In 1921, Dr. Dickey graduated from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. After his father’s death, Dr. Dickey and his wife, Magnolia, traveled to Taylor, Texas, to help take care of his mother and eight siblings.
In the 1930s, Dr. Dickey helped stop a typhoid epidemic ravaging the black population by administering shots. Through his work with community leaders, Dr. Dickey helped supply clean drinking water to underprivileged citizens and developed recreational facilities for the youth of Taylor.
In 1953, during a time of racial segregation, Dr. Dickey was honored as Taylor’s Citizen of the Year for his accomplishments.
Dickey later said, “The hand of destiny guided me to Taylor; I came to stay a few years; I remained to do my life’s work.”
James Lee Dickey, an African American physician. was the son of John S. and Linnie A. (Sears) Dickey. He was born in 1893 in Central Texas. somewhere near Waco. He attended Waco public schools from 1900 to 1912 and graduated from Tillotson College in 1916. Before he enrolled at Meharry Medical College. in Nashville. Tennessee. where he graduated in 1921. Dickey worked as an industrial teacher in Marlin A. position he didn’t stay with very long. Dickey’s father died in an accident before he graduated, leaving his mother with eight other children to raise by herself. Dickey came to Taylor, Texas to talk to Dr. J. Richard Moore is a black doctor. Unfortunately, Dr. Moore had moved to San Antonio, Texas. “The hand of destiny guided me to Taylor. I came to stay a few years. I remained to do my life’s work.’”Dickey said. He married Magnolia Fowler of Nashville, November 29, 1922. and together they loved Taylor. Where they worked together on many projects, including support of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. It seems that Dickey was the only African American practitioner in Williamson County. One of 130 African American doctors in Texas. He established a medical facility beginning with a three-bedroom clinic. later expanding a 15-bed hospital with modern surgical and obstetrical facilities. His efforts provided the only medical facility for blacks in Williamson County. The only facility for Blacks in a white-run hospital were no beds in a building separated from the main hospital. In his journey, Dickey found there were no facilities for African Americans in Bell, Lee, Milam, or Bastrop counties. He soon discovered that the health problems and causes of death among Blacks in those areas were typhoid fever. diarrhea among infants, convulsions, and complications of childbirth. tuberculosis. pellagra. venereal diseases and violence. He initiated health campaigns and established a prenatal clinic. Expectant mothers who couldn’t pay the fee were given free medical examinations and advice. Dickey established a venereal disease clinic to treat patients who couldn’t pay
At one point in his career, he slowed a typhoid fever epidemic through a vigorous vaccination program. Dickey expanded his doctoring to other areas of concern, such as the segregation and emotional suppression of Blacks. Due to violence being the cause of many deaths. Dickey, along with other participants, developed recreational facilities for youth. He solicited help from White physicians, who got involved. As luck would have it. the Taylor school board. in 1940. purchased land for a park for African Americans. African’ American women in the community, along with donations from some influential Whites. A building was erected and was designated The Community Center. The Taylor Amusement Company finally opened a balcony in the town’s theater, which allowed Blacks to go to the movies. Over the years Dickey received many honors for his service to the community. He was named The Most Outstanding Citizen of Taylor in 1953 by the Chamber of Commerce. That was the first time an African American was honored in the Community. This resulted in an article in the Saturday Evening Post-October 24, 1953 issue named ” A Negro Doctor Wins_Over a Southern Town. He was named General Practitioner of the Year by the Lone Star State Medical. Dental, and Pharmaceutical Association In 1953. His alma mater, Tillotson College named the Science Building after him and Theodore K. Lawless a dermatologist. Dickey served on the board of trustees from 1951 to his death. He died in Williamson County on May 18.1959.