For a town whose population did not hit 10,000 until 1920 (and of which only half were black), Wilson produced an astounding number of African-American physicians in the first few decades of the twentieth century. To the ranks of Drs. Joseph H. Ward, Charles H. Bynum, William H. Bryant, John W. Darden, James T. Suggs and Walter T. Darden, add James Alexander Battle.
Born in 1885 to Parker and Ella Daniel Battle, Battle graduated Leonard Medical School at Shaw University in Raleigh and soon established a practice in Greenville, North Carolina. In 1914, he married Della Mae Plummer of Warren County. They had one child, daughter Ella Elizabeth. Dr. Battle is credited as the first African-American physician to gain practicing privileges at Pitt County Memorial Hospital.
Greenville News, 23 February 1918.
Death certificate of Ella Lea Battle, Dr. Battle’s mother. Dr. Battle served as informant for the document, and Dr. Michael E. DuBissette, of Afro-Caribbean descent, certified it.
Pittsburgh Courier, 27 June 1953.
Journal of the Old North State Medical Society, volume 3, number 1 (October 1953).
Dr. J.A. Battle’s home at 1208 West 4th Street, Greenville. Photo courtesy of B. Forbes and published here.