Skip Navigation

ETHELBERT S. KENNEDY


The last two decades have witnessed an increasingly large number of young colored men entering professional life. It is a hopeful sign, as it not only demonstrates their ability individually, but points the way to progress. There are today many successful doctors of the race, and their success shows that the race will support its own professional men, if they have the patience and the energy to equip themselves. One of the recognized physicians of West Virginia is Dr. Ethelbert Shelton Kennedy of Wheeling, the story of whose life we tell here.

Dr. Kennedy was born on March 12, 1876, son of John and Susan (Grimes) Kennedy. His maternal grandparents were Albert and Susan Grimes. The place of his birth was Murray, Pa. As a boy young Kennedy laid the foundation of his education in the public and high schools of his home town, from which he passed to Howard University at Washington, D. C., where he spent some years in the college department. When ready for his medical course he matriculated at the School of Medicine of the same institution and won his M.D. degree in 1907. After leaving the local schools, it was necessary for him to support himself, which he did by means of hotel work during vacations. Fortunately his early contacts and environments were favorable and these had much to do with giving direction and character to his early career.

During the year 1908, Dr. Kennedy was Interne at the Freedman's Hospital at Washington, after which he located at Wheeling, where he has since resided and has built up a good general practice. He is a member of the State and the National Associations and is medical examiner for the recently organized insurance company. He was appointed assistant to the Health Commissioner of the city during the epidemic of smallpox of 1910, and was commended for his efficiency and ability.

On August 29, 1909, Dr. Kennedy was married to Miss Mary Clarke, an accomplished young lady from one of the first colored families of Virginia.

Dr. Kennedy is a Republican in politics, though he cannot be classed as active in political matters. He is however, active in the work of the A. M. E. Church, of which he is a member, and in which he was a steward and trustee. He was chosen a lay delegate to the general A. M. E. Conference of 1908. His secret order and benevolent society affiliations are with the Masons, the Odd Fellows, the Pythians and the Elks, for all of which he is local examiner.

His intimate contact with the home life of the people leads him to believe that the real and lasting progress of the race must be based on better home training, and every serious student of conditions will agree with him, and make it apply to both races in America.

Dr. Kennedy's property interests and investments are at Wheeling.


History of the American Negro Index

Genealogy CornerGenealogy Corner

West Virginia History CenterWest Virginia History Center

West Virginia Archives and History