All About the Sterrs
This fun fact was brought to us by Peggy Towns. She is a renowned historian, author of two published books, and a retired US Congress Field Representative.
Dr. Willis E. Sterrs and his wife Eva A. Young made enormous contributions to Decatur, Alabama. A native of Montgomery, Sterrs was the first Black physician in town. He attended Lincoln Normal School. at Marion, (Alabama State University). June 8, 1888, he graduated from University of Michigan, School of Medicine at Ann Arbor. In 1890, the couple moved to Decatur where he practiced until his death, April 26, 1921.
In 1900, Sterrs opened Cottage Home Infirmary, the first hospital in Decatur; expanded to eighteen rooms in 1910, adding a Nurses Training School, the free two-year course graduated its first nurses in 1913. The hospital predated Ladies Benevolent Society (1915), now Decatur Morgan Hospital.
June 1901, Dr. Sterrs argued against disenfranchising blacks to Alabama lawmakers. The letter read by Samuel Blackwell was ignored.
Renowned physician, surgeon, and first black pension surgeon in the state, several of Sterrs' articles appeared in the Journal of National Medical Association. He owned several businesses and attended First Missionary Baptist in old Town.
Mrs. Sterrs was the only female to own a newspaper here,"The Guardian."
Sterrs Cemetery, Sterrs Day Care Center, and Eva Sterrs Boys and Girls Club, are named in honor of these philanthropists.
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David Breland is kind of a big deal in Morgan County. His memory goes WAAAAY back (check out his picture), but he also is a local expert in Morgan County history. David is Director of Historical Resources and Events for the City of Decatur in Morgan County, Alabama.