Film planned to highlight WWI veteran and physician Dr. Frank Boston

Published: 2 January 2024

By George Whitehair and Dr. Francis Jeyaraj
via The Reporter web site

Dr Frank Boston

The memorial to Dr. Frank Boston in Lansdale, PA. (Photo courtesy Boston Legacy Foundation)

A local hero goes to the national stage as a documentary film about Dr. Frank Boston gets underway

A local hero goes to the national stage as a documentary film about Dr. Frank Boston gets underway.

Movie poster for film honoring Dr. Frank Boston. (Photo courtesy Boston Legacy Foundation)

“This is our most ambitious project as we plan to take this story to a national, if not international audience,” said George Whitehair, executive director of the Boston Legacy Foundation.

The documentary film will highlight Dr. Frank Erdman Boston, an African American hero, a surgeon and a soldier who served in France during World War I, including at the Meuse–Argonne offensive.

He continued his incredible work by founding a hospital and an ambulance corps, one of the first African Americans to do so. Boston returned to Europe many times for medical training and served as the vice president of the American Medical Society of Vienna. These accomplishments in and of themselves are highly unusual, as less than 3% of the physicians at that time were African American.

During his lifetime, his feats were recognized with two U.S. Presidential Citations, one from President Truman and the other from President Eisenhower. President Eisenhower acknowledged Dr. Boston and Nobel Prize winner Pearl S. Buck for their work with the disabled, but sadly his legacy was erased at the time of his death.

When Boston was dying of cancer, his supporters had asked the trustees of the hospital to commission and hang his portrait, but the request was refused with the explanation that “if we did it for Boston, we would have to do it for everyone.” “This was clearly an injustice to this distinguished physician,” said Dr. Francis Jeyaraj.

When Dr. Boston passed away in 1960, his supporters raised money and had a monument built, which still stands at 7th and Broad Street in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. It may be one of the first monuments to an individual African American, as most came after the civil rights movements. Yet, this incredible story faded away and today, people walk past the monument with little knowledge of this great man and the positive impacts his achievements had on our community.

“Since we started this project a little more than three years ago, Dr. Boston has received numerous awards and citations, including the Hero of Pennsylvania award by then Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. He has been honored by U.S. Senators Bob Casey, Sen. Chuck Grassley, Sen. Joni Ernst, Sen. Pat Toomey, Governors Tom Wolf and Josh Shapiro, U.S. Congress, the Pennsylvania State Legislature, Jefferson Health and numerous community and government organizations,” said Whitehair.

Read the entire article on The Reporter web site here:

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