George Waltham Bell
Physician and elected politician in Pine Bluff, Arkansas
Dartmouth Medical School
Class of 1893
1883 Lincoln Univ (A.B.), 1892 Amer Med Col, St. Louis (M.D.)
Born 1864 Ethiopa
Died 1925 New York NY
Quotes from Biographical Sources
Perhaps the most interesting case of an African who made a successful career in America is George Waltham Bell. Although he was born in Ethiopia, Bell’s family was exiled to the British island of Malta because of his father’s opposition to Ethiopian King Tewodros II (Theodore II). When his father John Bell was killed in another coup attempt against [Emperor] Menelik in 1859, the young son was left destitute. Eventually George joined the British navy, but resigned some years later while his ship was docked in the United States.
Somehow, in 1879 he entered Lincoln University. After his graduation in 1883, he went on to medical school in St. Louis, and eventually became a prominent doctor in Arkansas. In a notable career, Bell was elected as a state senator in Arkansas (1890-1894), led a legal defense against segregation, founded a county medical association, authored a medical text on consumption, and established the Arkansas Colored Infirmary.
Williams, Walter L. (1980). Ethnic Relations of African Students in the United States with Black Americans, 1870-1900. Journal of Negro History, 65(3), 240. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/2717097
- Kousseer, J. Morgan. (1975). A Black Protest tn the "Era of Accommodation:" Documents. Arkansas Historical Quarterly, 34(2), 149-178. Retrieved from http://authors.library.caltech.edu/41098/1/A%20Black%20Protest.pdf
- Kennedy, Thomas. (2009) A History of Southland College: The Society of Friends and Black Education in Arkansas (pp. 82ff): University of Arkansas Press.
- Bell, George Waltham-'83 AB-AM. (1918) Lincoln University Biographical Catalogue (p. 23). Lancaster, PA: Press of the New Era Printing Company.
- Moneyhon, C. (1985). Black Politics in Arkansas during the Gilded Age, 1876-1900. The Arkansas Historical Quarterly, 44(3), 222-245. doi:10.2307/40025863
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