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Queen's University

Queen's Encyclopedia

Black students, expulsion from medical school

In 1918, the Faculty of Medicine expelled black students from the university. A small number of black students, mainly from the Caribbean, attended the medical school early in the century. They appear to have been integrated into student life, but were more tolerated than truly accepted by local patients.

That tolerance turned into hostility around 1917, apparently at the instigation of wounded soldiers returned from the battlefields of Europe. Why the soldiers were so hostile is unclear, but medical officials did virtually nothing to resist their demands that they be attended by white doctors and students only. Instead, they started the process of expelling all 15 black students in the faculty - even those who were not in years that required clinical work.

The Queen's Senate supported Dean James Connell's recommendation that the students be transferred to cities with larger black populations. There is no clear record of where the students ended their studies, though it is likely that many went to Dalhousie, where Connell had recommended transferring them.

Black students were not permitted to return to medical studies until after the Second World War. There were never any restrictions against black students in other faculties.

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