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."
Marker Dedication Program Saturday, June 16, 2007
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.”