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

Howard, Theodore R. M.

(born: 1908  -  died: 1976) 

T. R. M. Howard, born in Murray, KY, was a graduate of the College of Medical Evangelists [now Loma Linda University] in Los Angeles, CA. He was medical director of the Riverside Sanitarium in California (1937-1939), then left to become surgeon-in-chief at Taborian Hospital in Mound Bayou, MS, (1942-1947), which would become the largest hospital in the state for African Americans. He was also founder and chairman of the United Order of Friendship of America in Bayou. In 1947 he became surgeon-in-chief and chief medical examiner of the Friendship Clinic in Bayou.

Dr. Howard was also an outspoken civil rights advocate in Mississippi. He delivered the eulogy at Medgar Evers' funeral in 1963. Howard left Mississippi in 1956 to become medical director of Fuller Products Co. in Chicago, and he was also named president of the National Medical Association. His decision to come north was made exactly one year after the death of Emmett Till; Howard had been lecturing throughout Mississippi about the killing, and his life had been threatened. The White Citizens Council had place a $1,000 hit on Howard, who had become quite wealthy with hundreds of acres of farmland and an entire block of homes. Howard felt that he did not know whom to trust anymore, white or black. His clinic was sold to members of the United Order of Friendship, and Dr. Howard broke all ties with the Democratic Party.

Dr. Howard was the son of Arthur Howard (b.1890 in TN) and Mary Chandler Howard (b.1892 in KY). In 1910, both parents worked as laborers in a tobacco factory, according to the U.S. Federal Census. Their second son, Willie Mason Howard, died of pneumonia in 1914, he was 15 months old according to his death certificate. By 1920, the couple was no longer together, and Mary had married Maurice Palmer (b.1888 in TN) and they had two children. Maurice Palmer was a laborer in a tobacco factory, and the family, including Theodore Howard, lived in Pool Town in Murray, KY.

For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950; D. Wright, "His life in danger, medic quits Dixie to fire salvos from North," Jet, vol. X, issue 16 (1956), pp. 12-15; Blacks in Science and Medicine, by V. O. Sammons; Medgar Evers, by J. Brown; Black Maverick by D. T. Beito and L. R. Beito; and T.R.M. Howard in

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Calloway County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Murray, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Howard, Theodore R. M.,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 20, 2024,

Last modified: 2018-07-15 13:04:28