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Black History Month: Dr. James Francis Shober

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Dr. James Francis Shober is an important figure for black North Carolina healthcare workers. He was born to a young slave girl and a successful politician in Salem, NC in 1853. When his mother died in 1859, James was sent to Waughtown Plantation where his mother’s family resided. 

Once old enough James attended Lincoln University, in Oxford, PA, where at the age of 22 he graduated second in his class. He then went on to further his education at Howard University where he was the only student, out of 48 students who graduated, from North Carolina. 

After his graduation from Howard, he traveled back to his home state of North Carolina to open his practice on the coast, in Wilmington. At the time this was the biggest city in the state, and he was the only African American physician. This made him the first licensed African American Physician to practice in the state of North Carolina. 

Throughout his career he was also an active part in medical associations, most notably the Old North State Medical Society, an association of African American physicians that still exists today. Although he accomplished so much, he only lived until January 1st, 1889. During his short life of only 36 years, Dr. Shober left a living legacy for African Americans in the North Carolina community.

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