Jane WilkesThe story of Carolinas HealthCare System began in 1876, with St. Peter’s Hospital and a pioneering leader named Jane Wilkes, “the godmother of Charlotte hospitals.” Under Wilkes’ leadership, the women of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church opened North Carolina’s first civilian hospital, which operated until 1940, when it contributed land and additional resources to establish Charlotte Memorial Hospital.

Jane Wilkes also established Good Samaritan Hospital in 1891. Good Samaritan is believed to be the first privately funded hospital in the United States built and operated to serve black patients. In 1959, Charlotte Memorial, now Carolinas Medical Center (CMC) in Charlotte, NC, assumed operation of Good Samaritan, and the hospital continued to serve people of color needing medical care. 

Many other individuals have contributed to Carolinas HealthCare System’s diversity legacy.

In the 1800s, Sisters of Mercy founder Catherine McAuley established a vision with one goal in mind – to provide care and service to the poor, the sick and the underserved. This framework remains core to today’s mission of CMC-Mercy.

In 1945, CMC hired its first female physician, pediatrician Louisa Littleton, MD. Some years later, the first African American physician, C.W. Williams, MD, was appointed to CMC’s visiting medical and dental staff. These acts set industry precedents in equal employment opportunity and affirmative action.

View other organizational legacy accomplishments.

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