Notable Alums


Specialty: Radiology

Graduation Year: 1915

Robert Greenidge

Robert Greenidge was born in British Guiana in 1888 to a father who was a descendent of slave owners and a mother descended from enslaved Africans who died not long after his birth. Raised by his aunt and uncle in a religious home, he could read the Bible by age 5.

He migrated to Battle Creek, Mich., at the age of 22 because of the reputation of the Kellogg family as one of the best-known Seventh Day Adventist families and their sanitarium. That experience led to his desire to pursue a medical career.

He graduated from the Detroit College of Medicine in 1915. In 1918, Dr. Greenidge was among the group of physicians who incorporated Dunbar Hospital, later known as Parkside Hospital. He served on the hospital Board of Trustees from 1918 to1963.

Dr. Greenidge practiced medicine for 10 years before he had he was confronted with the racism, which led to him being ejected from a Detroit area hospital by a white superintendent. He packed his belongings and looked at his watch so he would never forget the time and date: 11 a.m., Feb. 25, 1925.

That same year, he helped establish the Detroit Memorial Park Cemetery, one of the oldest and most profitable African-American businesses in Michigan. In 1927, two years after being denied the right to treat his patient, he established Eastside Medical Laboratory, one of seven businesses he created or helped to create. The lab offered complete x-ray and medical technology services.

By 1928, the Dunbar Hospital had outgrown its physical facility and moved to another location and became Parkside Hospital. Dr. Greenidge was one of the founders of Parkside Hospital. In 1941, he left his practice in Detroit and went to Chicago to study roentgenology (radiology) at Cook County Hospital. He passed the specialty board, making Dr. Greenidge the first African-American radiology specialist in Detroit.

He served as chair of the board and chief of x-ray at Dunbar and Parkside hospitals for many years. In 1943 Dr. Greenidge was elected to membership in the American College of Radiology, and in September 1944 he was certified by the American Board of Radiology as a specialist in Diagnostic Radiology.