Press Release

For Immediate Release:

May 18, 2018

Media Contact:

Fabian Ocano



Jackson’s Partnership Sheds Light on Achievements Overlooked during a Period of Segregation

Miami, FL — In commemoration of its 100 years of serving the community, Jackson Health System is partnering with The Black Archives to honor the medical achievements of black physicians and nurses and other clinicians, with an exhibit of their contributions and many that may have gone unnoticed due to Miami’s segregated past.

The collaboration is being led by Black Archive’s founder, Dorothy Jenkins Fields, PhD, an archivist and historian, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1960s to desegregate Rich’s department store in downtown Atlanta.

The exhibit will be unveiled at the historic Black Archives Historic Lyric Theater Cultural Complex, 819 N.W. Second Ave., Miami, on Sunday, May 20, at 3 p.m., in front of prominent community leaders, including Thelma Gibson, who shattered healthcare barriers as one of the first black nurses to work at Jackson in the 1940s, Dr. George Simpson, the first African-American to perform surgery at Jackson, and Dr. James Wilson Bridges, Jackson’s first African-American senior resident in obstetrics and gynecology.

“Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Centennial provides the entire community the opportunity to learn about its past and praise its advancements,” said Dr. Fields. “Jackson’s history is the community’s history, too.”

Over the last century Jackson, which opened as Miami City Hospital, has grown from a small facility with 13 beds and a handful of employees to Jackson Health System, one of the nation’s largest, most comprehensive health systems with more than 2,100 beds.

Unfortunately, laws mandating segregation in the early 20th century impeded the progress of health care and the participation of distinguished black caregivers, like Drs. Mckenzie Frazier, S.H Johnson, and William Benjamin Sawyer – who was a dear friend of Dr. James M. Jackson – in Jackson’s early history.
Today, Jackson is a shining reflection of our diverse community, employing more than 12,000 full-time employees from many nations, religions, races and ethnicities across all levels of the organization.

The exhibit will take guests through more than 100 years of history, featuring key events and medical firsts in the black community, and will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesdays through Fridays, from May 22 through to June 29.
For more information on Jackson’s rich history, visit

Jackson Health System

1611 N.W. 12th Avenue Miami, FL 33136