Honoring Black History in Coatesville

On February 15, 2023
In Blog

February is Black History Month, an annual celebration that honors the achievements and triumphs of African Americans throughout history. According to the United States Census Bureau, 41.5% of the Coatesville, Pennsylvania population is Black or African American. And history was made in our own backyard. Read on to learn more about Whittier C. Atkinson, an African American pioneer in the field of medicine, as well as the Black History Month Youth Poster Contest for local students!

Whittier C. Atkinson

On Chestnut Street in Coatesville, you will find a historic marker honoring Whittier C. Atkinson. After graduating from Howard University in 1924, Whittier C. Atkinson began practicing medicine in Coatesville. As the first African American physician in Chester County, Dr. Atkinson faced discrimination from his colleagues at the local hospital. In 1936, he opened the Clement Atkinson Memorial Hospital, named after his father, to serve the local African American population and to offer “quality healthcare for all despite inability to pay.”

Dr. Atkinson went on to become the first African American president of the Chester County Medical Society and was named Pennsylvania Practitioner of the Year in 1960. Clement Atkinson Memorial Hospital remained in operation until 1978 before being converted into a community center, and in 2011, the building on Chestnut Street was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

For a complete list of historical markers in the Greater Coatesville area, visit The Historical Marker Database at hmdb.org.

Black History Month Youth Poster Contest

The NAACP Coatesville Area Branch is sponsoring a Black History Month Youth Poster Contest on Friday, February 24, 2023, for students in the Coatesville Area School District! The theme of this event is African American Pioneers in the Field of Medicine. Our youth will participate in the following categories: Pre-K/Elementary, Middle School, and High School. There will be a 1st, 2nd and 3rd Place in each category, with cash prizes!

In celebration of Black History Month, participants must create a poster that recognizes historical pioneers in African American health and medicine. The contest presentation will take place on Friday, February 24, 2023, from 5PM to 8PM, at Greater Deliverance Church, 800 S.1st Ave., in Coatesville.

Posters can be dropped off at the Greater Deliverance Church on Thursday, February 23, 2023, between 5:30 and 7PM, or on Friday, February 24, between 10:30AM and 12PM.

Judges will evaluate each entry on a scale of 1-5, based on adherence to the theme, creativity, readability, and clarity.

Here are the contest rules:

  • Any medium is allowed, including text and computer-generated graphics.
  • Posters must be two-dimensional.
  • Posters must be clearly labeled with the student’s name on the back.
  • Posters should also be no smaller than 11×17 inches and no larger than 18×24 inches.
  • Only one entry per student is allowed.

Please contact the NAACP Coatesville Area Branch at info@chesconaacp.org with questions, or if you are interested in becoming a sponsor or member.

At The Alliance for Health Equity, we strive to advance a more equitable, resilient, and healthy community for all residents of the Greater Coatesville area—not just for adults and seniors, but also for our local youth. We pursue this mission through grantmaking, providing scholarships, building partnerships, and being a catalyst to spark new initiatives where they are needed the most. Our ultimate goal is to improve the health, social, emotional, economic conditions among children, teens, and families in the Coatesville Area School District. Learn more about The Alliance by visiting our website, and by following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.


The Alliance for Health Equity (formerly Brandywine Health Foundation) is a philanthropic organization striving to advance a more equitable, resilient and healthy community for all residents of the Greater Coatesville area. We pursue our mission by providing grants and scholarships to local nonprofits and students that address health and economic disparities and social justice. We also build partnership programs and give voice to those often left out of community solution building to improve the overall health of their communities. 100% of contributions go directly to those in need.