Reasons for Naming
- First African American woman doctor in South Carolina, longtime Columbia resident and public health advocate
- Founded Columbia Clinic Association and the Taylor Lane Hospital and Training School — the first Black-owned hospital in Columbia
- Served as president of South Carolina’s Palmetto Medical Association, the first Black woman to occupy such a position in any state
Matilda A. Evans (1872-1935)
By Mercedes Lopez-Rodriguiz
Dr. Matilda Anabella Evans was born on May 13, 1872, in Aiken, South Carolina, to Anderson and Harriet Evans, African American sharecroppers.1 In 1897, Dr. Evans became the first African American woman to practice medicine in South Carolina.2 She died in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1935 after a life of service and leadership in medicine, public health, education, philanthropy and advocacy for the health rights of Black and white South Carolinians.
Evans attended the Schofield Normal School in Aiken, a school devoted to the education of Black South Carolinians.3 From 1887 to 1891, she attended Oberlin College in Ohio. In 1893, Evans enrolled at the Women’s Medical College in Philadelphia, where she received her M.D. degree in 1897.4
Dr. Evans returned to South Carolina, founded the Columbia Clinic Association, and later in 1901 the Taylor Lane Hospital and Training School, the first African American owned hospital in Columbia, South Carolina, serving the Black and white communities “in the fields of surgery, obstetrics, gynecology, pediatrics, hygienics.”5 In 1914, she established the St. Luke's Hospital and Evans Sanitorium. In addition to her achievements as a medical doctor, public health advocate, and mentor to new generations of health practitioners,6 Dr. Evans was also the author of the biography of Martha Schofield, founder of the Normal School that bears her name.7 The same year, Dr. Evans founded the Negro Health Association of South Carolina. In 1922, Dr. Evans served as president of the South Carolina's Palmetto Medical Association, becoming the first African American woman to have occupied such a position in any state of the country.8 In 1930s, Dr. Evans opened a free clinic to assist the South Carolinians impoverished by the Great Depression.
2 Webster, Raymond B. African American Firsts in Science and Technology. (Detroit: Gale Group 1999: 169)
4 Hine, Darlene Clark. "The Corporeal and Ocular Veil: Dr. Matilda A. Evans (1872-1935) and the Complexity of Southern History." The Journal of Southern History 70, no. 1 (2004): 3-4. Accessed June 8, 2021. doi:10.2307/27648310.
5 Hine, Darlene Clark. "The Corporeal and Ocular Veil: Dr. Matilda A. Evans (1872-1935) and the Complexity of Southern History." The Journal of Southern History 70, no. 1 (2004): 4. Accessed June 8, 2021. doi:10.2307/27648310.
7 Matilda A. Evans, Martha Schofield, A Pioneer Negro Educator: Historical and Philosophical Review of Reconstruction Period of South Carolina. (Columbia, S.C., 1916)