William J. Thompkins

William J. Thompkins
Thompkins (Photo Credit: Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library)

1884 – 1944 

Physician, hospital administrator, newspaper publisher, and civil servant William J. Thompkins helped found General Hospital No. 2 in Kansas City, the first U.S. hospital staffed entirely by African Americans. Thompkins’s efforts to improve health and housing for African Americans in Kansas City were adopted as a national model by President Herbert Hoover. 

He later turned to partisan politics, founding a Democratic newspaper for the Black community and serving as president of the National Colored Democratic Association. Thompkins was appointed recorder of deeds for the District of Columbia by President Franklin Roosevelt, a job he held until his death.