Leading The Charge: A Talk With Physician And Civil Rights Pioneer William Anderson, D.O.

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On this edition of Conversations from Studio B, WOUB General Manager Tom Hodson talks with osteopathic physician, surgeon, educator and historic civil rights leader William G. Anderson, D.O.

Dr. Anderson is scheduled to deliver the keynote address at the 34th Commencement at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-HCOM) on Saturday, May 11.

Anderson founded and was the first president of the Albany Movement, considered the first mass movement in the modern civil rights struggle with the goal of desegregation of an entire community.

In December 1961, the movement resulted in the jailing of more than 1,000 African Americans in southwestern Georgia during a one-week period, including Anderson and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Anderson and King, a friend of his wife’s family, became friends while Anderson taught at the Atlanta College of Mortuary Science and King was attending Morehouse College.

Dr. Anderson earned his doctor of osteopathic medicine degree from the Des Moines Still College of Osteopathy in Iowa (now the Des Moines University College of Osteopathic Medicine) in 1956. He later became the first African American to join the board of directors of the American Osteopathic Association where he served for 20 years, including a term as president.

In 1986, Anderson received the OU-HCOM Phillips Medal of Public Service, the college’s highest honor. In 2009, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Osteopathic Foundation, recognizing the role he played both within and without the osteopathic profession.

Barbara Ross-Lee, D.O., former dean of OU-HCOM, credited Dr. Anderson with encouraging her to apply for the college dean position. Three of Dr. Anderson’s children, a son-in-law and a granddaughter are all osteopathic physicians.

"Dr. Anderson is and has been a leader in our profession for more than a half century," said OU-HCOM Executive Dean Kenneth H. Johnson, D.O. "His career and unwavering dedication are an inspiration to us all. We are honored that he will be addressing our new graduates, their family members, friends, faculty and staff this year."

OU-HCOM will webcast the commencement ceremony at http://www.oucom.ohiou.edu/saffairs/Graduation/2013/index.htm.