TSGS Cruiser Blog

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Dr. Cola K. Newsome, MD"

Dr. Cola K. Newsome...

Yesterday, I posted the plaque dedicating the Evansville Community Center that was later re-named the C.K. Newsome Community Center after Dr. Newsome. While I was at the center taking the plaque photo, I took the below photo of Dr. Newsome that is up very high toward the top of the ceiling. It is a very nice painting. I could not read the name of the artist. I knew a little about him, but wanted to learn more.

I found a great news interview of Dr. Newsome concerning Civil Rights in Evansville entitled "We're Still Outside" published in the Evansville Press 01 Mar 1969 that impressed me. Here is a condensed version of his obituary & a news article about his death.

Dr. Cola K. Newsome, civic leader, died on 27 Apr 1982 at the age of 55. He was the first black to serve on the Evansville-Vanderburgh School Board. Mayor Frank McDonald, Sr. appointed Dr. Newsome to the board in 1964 serving through 1971. During his tenure, he had been instrumental in the early planning for desegregation of the county's public schools. "With his many civic activities, Dr. Newsome maintained an active medical practice and for a number of years was the only black physician in Evansville. He and his wife, Gerdine, a nurse, worked together in his clinic at 415 E. Mulberry with a goal of introducing comprehensive and preventative health care for poor people in the neighborhood." Evansville Press (27 Apr 1982).

A native of North Carolina and veteran of World War II, Dr. Newsome came to Evansville in 1957 after graduating from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN. He received his bachelor's degree with honors from West Virginia State College in 1949 and his master's degree in 1952. His most recent project was as President of Beneficial Development Corp. - a group of black business entrepreneurs working to develop a neighborhood shopping center & housing in the inner-city area. Ira Neal a friend and partner in this venture said that Dr. Newsome was first & foremost a dedicated physician and a super person. He had a reputation as generally quiet and soft-spoken, but made his views known when called for.

He served on numerous other public boards, including boards of the Evansville Housing Authority, the Public Recreation Commission and the Southwestern Indiana Mental Health Center. He was a lay leader at New Hope Baptist Church. He was survived by his wife & five children.

- Photo Taken & submitted by JGWest. Article compiled by JGWest.

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