Daniel Hale Williams was born on January 18, 1856 in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. He attended the Chicago Medical College where he received his Doctor of Medicine degree.
Williams was recognized for racial integration in the medical field. Williams did not like the rules being practiced in other hospitals, so in 1891 he co-founded Provident Hospital, the first hospital mainly controlled by the African American community in Chicago.
Shortly after opening Provident Hospital, Dr. Williams successfully performed open-heart surgery on James Cornish, a young man who received sever stab wounds to the chest that reached to his heart. This incident made Williams the first African American to ever perform open-heart surgery. Despite having limited surgical equipment and medicine, Williams successfully operated on Cornish’s heart without any complication or infection. After the successful open-heart surgery, James recovered and lived for another 50 years.
In 1926 Williams retired after he survived a stroke, living out the rest of his years in Idlewild, Michigan. He passed away in 1931 at 75.