By Eric Ramsey- Director of Apprenticeships. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Williams was born in Holidaysburg, PA in 1856. As a child, Daniel and his family moved to Annapolis, MD where he became a shoemaker apprentice.
Tragedy struck the Williams family when Daniel’s father passed away from Tuberculosis. The death of Mr. Williams caused the family to relocate with relatives to other parts of the country. During his time in Wisconsin, Daniel observed a physician, Dr. Henry Palmer, who peaked his interest in the medical field. Daniel then began a second apprenticeship as a surgeon for the next two years before entering Chicago Medical College.
Dr. Williams’ Notable accomplishments:
Dr. Williams founded Provident Hospital so that African Americans and other minorities could have greater access to healthcare.
Dr. Williams was the first African American to perform pericardium and open heart surgeries.
In 1893, President Grover Williams appointed Dr. Williams to the post of surgeon-in-chief of Freedman’s Hospital in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Williams was a charter member and the only African-American doctor in the American College of Surgeons.
Apprenticeships are a great mechanism for career pathways. Shoemaker to surgeon isn’t a linear path, but apprenticeships can create a strong foundation for skills development.