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CME Church launches $3 million healthcare project

Mt. Olive Health Center

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — You may have never heard of the Collins Chapel Hospital, but before integration, that was the only hospital African-Americans could go to.

Monday, the CME Church kicked off a $3 million fundraising campaign to renovate the old hospital into a much-needed community clinic.

“I was born at Collins Chapel, and at the time it was the only place my mom could deliver or have a child,” said Andrea Lewis-Miller Lemoyne-Owen College President.

Collins Chapel Hospital was founded in Memphis in 1910 during segregation. It served many African-Americans until the 70`s. It closed down in 1980 after integration allowed African-Americans to be treated at area hospitals.

“It served such a great purpose when it was open, and I think that it can serve an even greater purpose now that it’s re-opening,” said Lewis-Miller.

Lewis-Miller told WREG, her mom would be thrilled to know the community and the CME Church are working to get the hospital back open as a clinic and rehab center.

“It means we were talking a lot of pride in something that was primarily black owned and operated,” said Lewis-Miller.

Rev. Jesse Jackson, who grew up in the CME Church, talked about what the hospital meant to so many.

“It’s a refugee house, it’s a rescue house, it’s there for those whose backs are against the walls,” said Jackson. “Why should we restore this place? The Bible says remove not the ancient landmarks.”

Bishop Henry Williamson Sr. said his church started working on this project six years ago. We asked if there are any specific gaps the hospital and rehab center will fill.

“We lack adequate healthcare, particularly in the African-American community,” said Williamson. “I was talking and referring to healthcare professionals who let us know some vital areas that are underserved at this time by both the black and white community.”

Renovations will cost $3 million and construction is expected to be completed by November of this year.

If you would like to donate to the Collins Health and Rehabilitation Center contact the CME Church at 901-345-4114.