From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Bell, Jesse B.

(born: 1904  -  died: 1998) 

Jesse Bell was the fist African American doctor at Jewish Hospital [now Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's Healthcare] in Louisville, KY; he began in 1958, followed by Dr. William M. Moses in 1959. In 1980 Bell became the first African American president of the Jewish Hospital medical staff. In 1965 he was the first African American to be named to the University of Louisville (U of L) Board of Overseers. Bell, born in Tallulah, Louisiana, was the son of Ella and John Bell. He completed high school at Alcorn College [now Alcorn State University] and was a graduate of Morehouse College and Meharry Medical College. He had had a private practice in Frankfort, KY, and later was employed at Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Louisville before opening a private practice. Dr. Bell also served as director of the Louisville Red Cross Hospital from 1941-1946. For more see A Legendary Vision: the history of Jewish Hospital, by B. Zingman and B. L. Anster; "First Negro on University of Louisville Board," Jet, vol. 29, issue 4 (11/04/1965), p. 26; and Jesse Burnett Bell at the U of L Magazine website.

Item Relations

Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Red Cross Hospital and Nurse Training Department (Louisville, KY)
NKAA Source: A Legendary vision: the history of Jewish Hospital
NKAA Source: Jet (periodical)

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“Bell, Jesse B.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 24, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-09-14 18:17:47