The 1922 Wilson city directory listed three African-American doctors — Michael E. Dubissette, Matthew S. Gilliam, and William A. Mitchner.
Unlike Gilliam (more about him later) and Mitchner, Dr. DuBissette spent only a few years of practice in Wilson. Born in 1885 in Grenada, West Indies, Michael Edmund DuBissette immigrated to the United States about 1912. He attended Saint Augustine’s College and Shaw University in Raleigh (where he likely met his wife, Betty Alford of Smithfield, Johnston County) and obtained a medical degree from Howard University. He was a resident of New York (and a British citizen) in June 1917 when he registered for the World War I draft. In March 1918, he married Alford in Wake County.
Wilmington Morning Star, 15 May 1915. (Note Eustace DuBissette, who was likely a younger brother. Born in Grenada in 1890, he opened a dental practice in Wilmington, North Carolina.)
By 1922, the DuBissettes had set up in Wilson, living at 911 East Green Street while Dr. DuBissette saw patients at 550 East Nash. (Not Hicks, as the directory shows.) In his idle hours, he managed to maintain competitive tennis rankings.
New York Age, 12 February 1927.
He remained in Wilson as late as 1928, when DuBissette last appears in a city directory. By 1929, however, he had moved on to Enfield, Halifax County, North Carolina. From there he filed in the Eastern District of the North Carolina, United States District Court, a declaration of his intention to seek American citizenship. Wife Bettie and children Bettie Agnes (born 1919) and Michael DuBissette Jr. (born 1921) were still in Wilson.
In February 1930, Dr. DuBissette resettled in New York City and threw himself into the city’s Negro professional life, giving lectures, fundraising, and gaining hospital credentials.
New York Age, 27 February 1932.
New York Age, 3 March 1934.
In 1936, Dr. DuBissette petitioned for naturalization in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York. Bettie Alford Dubissette had died two years prior, but his children continued to reside with him at 460 West 147th Street in Harlem.
By the early 1940s, however, Dr. DuBissette had returned to North Carolina. He married his second wife, Louise Goodson, in 1943 in Goldsboro and established a long-lasting practice there. Michael E. DuBissette died in New York City in 1963.
Washington Afro-American, 31 December 1963.
Petitions for Naturalization from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1897-1944, National Archives and Records Administration, available online at ancestry.com.