‘Katie B.’ Hospital alumni reunion set for this weekend

‘Katie B.’ Hospital alumni reunion set for this weekend
July 23
00:00 2015

In above photo: Kate Bitting Reynolds Memorial Hospital memorial sign

By Felecia Piggott-Long, Ph.D.

Special to The Chronicle

The annual Kate Bitting Reynolds Memorial Hospital Alumni Reunion will be held Friday through Sunday, July 24-26 at the Hawthorne Inn, 420 High St. in Winston-Salem.

Former doctors, nurses and other employees, former patients, students, persons who were born there and community supporters are invited to this celebration of the hospital for African-Americans.

This year’s theme is “Meet Us at the 30th Katie B. Reunion!”

The Kate Bitting Reynolds Memorial Hospital was built in 1938.

In 1970, Katie Bitting Hospital was closed, and a new hospital called Reynolds Memorial Hospital opened to serve African-Americans. It ceased to function as a general hospital in 1972.

The hospital housed two schools: School of Nursing, School of Radiologic Technology, training programs for doctors to acquire medical specialities in medicine, surgery, and ob-gyn.

There were also two dormitories for nursing students and x-ray technician students.

“We want everyone to know that this event is to promote the mixing and mingling of the people. We are celebrating what we accomplished as a hospital family,” said Beverly Watson, vice president. “I would not be where I am today without my education there. Kate Bitting Hospital has helped us all to be responsible, contributing citizens in the community.”

The opening social gathering will begin at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

It will include registration, “Remembering Katie B,” heavy hors d’oeuvres and an evening of entertainment, featuring the Encore Line Dancers.

The cost of this event is $25.

On Saturday, registration will begin at 7:30 a.m.

Afterward, breakfast will be served, followed by a business meeting at 10 a.m. and a tour of the area surrounding where the Kate Bitting Hospital once stood.

It will include the official historical marker for the hospital and a marker for the Nurses’ Residence, radiology students and classrooms.

The cost of the breakfast is $25.

The Saturday evening registration will be held from 3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. followed by a full-service banquet and speaker presentation at 4:30 p.m.

The keynote speaker will be Bishop Sir Walter Lee Mack Jr., pastor of Union Baptist Church.

His Bishopship was conferred upon Mack on July 10 by Bishop Neil C. Ellis of Global United Fellowship in Jacksonville, Florida as Bishop of Global Evangelism.

Bishop Mack’s mother, Frances Mack, trained and graduated from Kate Bitting Reynolds Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in 1954.

She served as assistant head nurse for the surgical unit from 1954 until 1972.

The cost of the banquet is $25.

On Sunday, participants are invited to attend the church of their choice.

Planning committee members for the reunion include Chairwoman Jacqueline Noble Howell, Co-Chairwoman Beverly Watson, Chaplain Bernie Neal-Anderson, Corresponding Secretary Josephine B. Hall, Corresponding Secretary Gloria Millner and Entertainment Coordinator George Cunningham.

For information contact Jacqueline Howell at 919-477-2200 or Beverly Watson at 336-761-1431.

In 1941, a 90-bed addition to the Kate Bitting Reynolds Memorial Hospital was funded by William Neal Reynolds, making it the third largest hospital for African-Americans in the United States.

Before 1938, most African-American patients who were ill stayed at home, and the minority doctors made house calls. Dr. Bruce had a free-standing surgical ambulatory clinic on New Walkertown Road The wife of William N. Reynolds asserted that the hospital should also provide avenues for medical training.

 Prior to 1941, there were no Black hospitals for black doctors to practice in. The efforts of the black doctors, William N. Reynolds, a son of Richard J. Reynolds, founder of the tobacco company by the same name, and the Duke Endowment, the city was able to secure a hospital for African-Americans.

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