Columbia in Richland County, South Carolina — The American South (South Atlantic)
Cyril O. Spann Medical Office
A local civil rights leader, Spann helped desegregate public accommodations and once performed life-saving surgery on a student stabbed during a sit-in. While Spann saw patients at this office, he conducted surgery at Good Samaritan-Waverly Hospital, where he worked as early as 1957 and later served as chief of staff. After Spann's death, other black doctors continued practicing at his office into the 1990's.
Erected 2019 by Tnovsa Global Commons and the Richland County Conservation Commission. (Marker Number 40 211.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Architecture Civil Rights • Science & Medicine.
Location. 34° 0.635′ N, 81° 1.088′ W. Marker is in Columbia, South Carolina, in Richland County. Marker is on Hampton Street west of Oak Street, on the left when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2226 Hampton Street, Columbia SC 29204, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Visanska-Starks House (within shouting distance of this marker); Good Samaritan-Waverly Hospital (within shouting distance of this marker); Matthew J. Perry House (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); First Calvary Baptist Church (about 500 feet away); Waverly (approx. 0.2 miles away); Allen University (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Lighthouse & Informer / John H. McCray (approx. 0.2 miles away); Carver Theatre (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Columbia.
Regarding Cyril O. Spann Medical Office. The building served as the office of Dr. Spann from 1963 until his death in 1979 and represents the history of segregated medical facilities in Columbia until the opening of the integrated Richland County Memorial Hospital in 1972.
It is in Columbia’s Historic Waverly neighborhood, a City of Columbia Protection
Dr. Spann, a native of Chester, SC and graduate of Benedict College and Meharry Medical College, was a Black physician and surgeon who operated a practice out of this building while also working at the Good Samaritan-Waverly Hospital down the block. From 1966 to the hospital’s closure in 1973, Dr. Spann served as the hospital’s chief of staff.
Unlike the segregated hospital wings and waiting rooms that typically greeted Black patients seeking care, Dr. Spann’s office provided a doctor’s office created by and for African Americans. Through additional rigorous study and practice at Meharry, Dr. Spann became one of the first fully trained Black surgeons in South Carolina during the 1960s and early 1970s. At the time of his practice, he was the only Black surgeon in the state. As a result, Dr. Spann traveled to Kingstree, Sumter, Union, Greenville, Charleston, and other areas across the state to provide his much-needed surgical expertise to Black patients.
Spann also acted alongside other civil rights leaders to desegregate downtown Columbia businesses, and to support the 187 student protesters arrested for demonstrating at the South Carolina State House, which led to a US Supreme Court ruling in their favor in Edwards
The Dr. Cyril O. Spann Medical Office was operated exclusively by African-American physicians from 1964 until 1995. These individuals included Dr. Albert Reid, Dr. Everett Dargan, Dr. Gerald Wilson, Dr. Burnett Gallman, Dr. Ronald Johnson, the late Dr. Vera McBryde, a Latta, SC native; and the Eau Claire Cooperative Health Center Annex founded by Dr. Stuart Hamilton.
The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in May 2019. This historic marker was unveiled on November 19, 2019 and has created a unique space with three historic markers in a row for related buildings: The Good Samaritan Waverly Hospital, where Dr. Spann served as chief of staff; the Visanska Starks House, where nurses who served Good Samaritan Waverly Hospital lived, and the Spann Medical Office itself. Tnovsa Global Commons plans to restore the building and open it by 2021.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker.
Also see . . .
1. Oral History Interviews, Black Medical History Project - Dr. Cyril O. Spann Sr. (video). This oral history project, funded by Richland County Conservation Commission and Richland County, documents the impact of Dr. Spann on health care during the transition from segregated to desegregated health services for Blacks in (Submitted on November 24, 2019, by C.F. Bruce of Columbia, South Carolina.)
2. SC African American Civil Rights Commission Tweet for the unveiling of the marker. (Submitted on November 28, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on November 28, 2019. It was originally submitted on November 24, 2019, by C.F. Bruce of Columbia, South Carolina. This page has been viewed 428 times since then and 234 times this year. Photos: 1. submitted on November 24, 2019, by C.F. Bruce of Columbia, South Carolina. 2. submitted on November 27, 2019, by C.F. Bruce of Columbia, South Carolina. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on November 24, 2019, by C.F. Bruce of Columbia, South Carolina. 8, 9. submitted on November 27, 2019, by C.F. Bruce of Columbia, South Carolina. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.