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Whoever has made a study of the distribution of population since Emancipation, has found a goodly number of the successful professional men of the race in adjacent and even in distant States are natives of North Carolina. In West Virginia, among the dentists and doctors, North Carolinians, or Tar Heels, as they are sometimes playfully called, rank in numbers next to the native sons of the State. Among these must be mentioned a successful young general practitioner of the little mountain city of Beckley, Dr. Robert James Howard. Dr. Howard was born in Caswell County, N. C., October 18, 1887. His father, Russell Howard, who is still living (1922) is a farmer. He married Dora Williamson, grand-daughter of Sabe Bushnell, and daughter of Mary Williamson.

While life on the farm is frequently hard and seldom remunerative, yet it has been shown by the lives of hundreds and thousands of successful men in America that it puts something into the life of the intelligent, ambitious youth which makes for success. It was so in the case of our subject, who laid the foundation of his education in the public schools of Caswell County and learned to work on the farm--and work on the small farm permits of no evasion or equivocation, it is work. From the public schools he passed to the Normal and Industrial Institute ant Lumberton, N. C., and was there for six years, later entered A. & T. College, Greensboro, N. C. When ready for his medical course he matriculated at Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tenn., where he won his M.D. degree in 1919. During the early days of his schooling he made his way by work on the farm. Later he found his way to the West Virginia coal mines and in this way earned money for his medical course. This gave him an insight into the opportunities offered the professional man in the mining towns. So on completion of his course he located at Mullens and practiced there till 1921. He then moved to Beckley, the county seat of Raleigh County, where he has since resided.

He is a member of the State Medical Association. On June 3, 1921, Dr. Howard was happily married to Miss Edna Maynes of Ronceverte, W. Va. She was educated at Bluefield Institute, and was before her marriage, an accomplished teacher.

In religion Dr. Howard is a Baptist, in politics a Republican. He belongs to the Pythians and is medical examiner for the National Benefit Insurance Company. Dr. Howard's ambition was aroused and his imagination fired by reading what other colored men had accomplished, which shows the importance of the right sort of biography. He believes that the next step forward in the progress of the Negro should have to do with education and economy.

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