Full of Grace – Dr. Scott: the first, the first and the first

Full of Grace – Dr. Scott: the first, the first and the first

scott-webThroughout his life, Dr. Leonard George Scott was a trailblazer for African-Americans in New Jersey. In 1925, he was the first African-American to graduate from Millburn High School. In 1950, when Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital opened in Camden, he was one of the original physicians on staff. In 1958, he was the first African-American to join the staff at Bridgeton Hospital.

Yet the converted Catholic not only practiced medicine, but humility, putting himself in God’s presence every day with Mass. At the eulogy for Dr. Scott, given by Deacon William Johnson at his funeral in 1998, the physician was remembered as a man who “used the gifts given to him by God with the highest degree of love for God, his family, his patients, his many friends and all who came in contact with him.”

Born in New York City on Feb. 17, 1907, to Hattie Harris Scott and Rev. James Scott, a Baptist minister, Leonard was one of four children, brother to twin Lionel, Ellouise, and James, Jr.

He married Rubietta Johnson in 1937, and the couple moved to Bridgeton in 1938, where they raised three children: Jacqueline, Linda and Msgr. Leonard G. Scott, current pastor of Emmaus Catholic Community, Mount Ephraim.

As a respected doctor in Cumberland County, Dr. Scott sometimes made house calls in the middle of the night. At times, his patients could pay him only with eggs, chicken, or produce.

In addition to being on staff at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital and Bridgeton Hospital, he was a member of the American Medical Association, the New Jersey State Medical Association (where he served as president in 1952), the South Jersey Medical Association, and the Cumberland County Medical Society.

Converting to Catholicism in 1947, he was an active parishioner at Immaculate Conception Parish in Bridgeton, serving as a member and organist of the Holy Name Society, Parish Council and Right to Life Group; as a Eucharistic Minister and Lector; and Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus. In 1964, he was appointed a Knight of St. Gregory by Pope Paul VI.

Dr. Scott was also active in the community, as a member of the Boy Scouts of American, NAACP, and the American Heart Association.

He practiced medicine in Bridgeton until his retirement in 1989. On Jan. 25, 1998, at the age of 90, he passed away.

Researched by Peter G. Sánchez and James A. McBride

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