Dr Daniel Hale Williams was and American surgeon. He was the first African American cardiologist and was also the first person to perform a successful open heart surgery in the United States. It was July of 1893 2 years after Dr Williams founded the first non-segregated hospital in the United States.
The Provident Hospital and Training School for nurses in Chicago, was largely for African American citizens as slavery and segregation was abound.
The surgery that Dr Williams performed was on a man who had been stabbed in the chest during a brawl. He was brought to Provident Hospital, and there Dr Williams would repair the torn pericardium without the benefit of x-rays, breathing apparatus, blood transfusions, or penicillin. It was documented that Dr Williams opened a small trap door in the patient's chest, assessed the wound, repaired the damage to the left internal mammary artery and closed a second wound in the quivering pericardium, which covered the heart. The victim successfully recovered from the surgery in just 55 days, and was pronounced healthy and discharged.
Dr Williams wanted to see nurses, both white and black, trained with high standards and with the newest methods of cleanliness. Provident insisted on high standards, and only doctors from accredited medical schools were allowed to practice there. Similarly, only the most well-educated women were accepted by the nursing school.
Dr Williams died of a stroke in August of 1931, but his legacy lives on.
source: 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About African American History