Farewell.... Dr. Viola Coleman

Many of you will not know of Dr. Coleman but for those that do will know what a remarkable woman she truly was.

Every since I was a few months old, twice a year, my mother and me or my grandmother and me would make our trek to 500 S Carver Street to see Dr. Viola Mary Johnson Coleman. Dr. Coleman had been our family physician since my mother was in grade school herself. No matter how many patients she had she never forget one detail about the Fitzgerald-Morris', she had become more than just a doctor but a family member.

But it wasn't until Dr. Viola Coleman, a brilliant and determined physician still practicing in her eighties, who led the fight to desegregate the schools and the small oil town of 50,000. Midland, the former home of George and Laura Bush, was much like the rest of America, segregation in Midland created a social atmosphere where black doctors and lawyers and business owners became the notables of the local black community. When Dr. Coleman and other black leaders began organizing sit-ins at a few of Midland's favorite lunch spots, the town's white business community was so eager to avert the same spectacle that has been occurring across the south that most of the restaurant owners quietly agreed to open their doors to blacks.

Dr. Coleman's activism didn't stop there. In 1970, she successfully worked with the Department of Justice in desegregating Midland's schools, the same schools my family and the Bushes attended. In the 80's, the city acknowledged her by naming a new high school after her. Her recent work included working to end the paramount Hispanic drop out issue.

While growing up, Dr. Coleman was just my doctor and a family friend. Now that I know more about this amazing woman, I feel honored to have been her patient.

"You survive and go on to do those things that you have the ability to do and the willingness to pay the price for," Coleman said in a 1985


Anonymous said...

I too was delivered by Dr.Coleman in 1966.I live in Philly now but even though I haven't been home in a while I'll never forget where i came from.-Roshunne Sanders-Bailey