Dr. James A. Battle.

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. WardCharles H. Bynum, William H. BryantJohn 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.

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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. 

PC 6 27 1953

Pittsburgh Courier, 27 June 1953.

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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.



  1. This is my maternal grandfather! I am the daughter of Ella Elizabeth Battle.

    1. Wonderful! So glad you found the post. There are others here that mention several of Dr. Battle’s sisters, and I have one in the works on his father, Parker Battle. If you have photo(s) of Dr. Battle, I’d love to share them here. Thanks for commenting, and best regards.

    2. I believe we were playmates when you would coe to Greenville. Your grandparents were my Godparents. I lived on the corner from them andwould slid down the banister of the steps all the time. Though we were young I still miss them and can remember our days with Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Scrapp. You may not remember me. Montressa. God bless and soglad to find this article.

      1. Oh my goodness!!! I surely do remember you! I have often thought about those days. I didn’t realize they were your Godparents. So wonderful to reconnect after over 60+ years.

    3. Hi Mae his wife Della is my great great Aunt. She is my great grandfather sister. We are family!

    4. I have the rocking chair that was Dr Battle. It was give to a lady on 3rd St She gave it to me at her death. It. Is a beautiful old chair . The lady on 3rd street told me that it was Dr Battle mother chair .Billy Ellis.

      1. How wonderful! I am Dr. Battle’s granddaughter. I would love to see a picture of the chair.

  2. What a beautiful informative entry Mae! Marilyn Ragatz and I are traveling together and shared this! Thanks!

  3. Interesting Dr Battle home was also the home of Dr. Andrew A. Best of Greenville NC. Dr. Best delivered me and my sister Trina Carney Smith.

    Prior to reading this I never knew Greenville had a black physician other than Dr. Best.

    This house should be preserved as a historical site to the Black physicians of Greenville NC.

    A tribute to Dr. Best already exists in the the form of the Best Irons building on East Carolina University. It is also impirtant to note that Dr Best was instrumental in intergrating East Carolina College when I was a youngster.

    I am a proud graduate of East Carolina University

    1. In the mid 70s, my father and I were introduced to Dr Euragia Land, who then became our family physician and another one of Greenville’s black practitioners. There was also Dr. Artis. These were the ones I remember as a kid growing up there. I remember Dr. Best very clearly. Dr. Battle I had only heard of because he had long passed away. Love this history!

      1. One of the reasons Dr. Best went to Greenville was because there were two Black doctors there with hospital privileges. My grandfather passed away in 1953. He and another physician (must look up his name) also had a maternity clinic in Greenville.

        Do you still live there? If so I would like to make contact so the history can be preserved.
        Please feel free to contact me at maeeloutome@aol.com.

  4. Dr. Battle was the attending physician for my grandmother (Retha Bell Tucker) who died in 1935 due to complications during childbirth. In fact prior to moving to the home in the picture he and his family lived downtown near my grandparents (Robert L. Tucker).

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