ASA G YANCEY -       1916 - 2013

Remembering Asa G Yancey

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Whether he was talking to a colleague, patient, friend or relative, Dr. Asa G. Yancey Sr.’s goal was always to help.

He would provide whatever assistance he could to anyone trying to solve a problem, feel better or make a decision.

Yancey, the first black faculty member at Emory University’s medical school and first black doctor at Grady Memorial Hospital, was determined to make sure other African-Americans didn’t have to struggle like he did.

“He’s probably helped thousands of doctors along the way,” said Dr. W. Lynn Weaver, professor of surgery at Morehouse School of Medicine. “One day I asked him how I could repay him, and he simply said, ‘Never forget where you came from. That is payment enough for me.’”

Asa Greenwood Yancey Sr., a native of Atlanta, died Saturday at his home after a period of declining health. He was 96. A funeral is planned for 1 p.m. Saturday at Friendship Baptist Church, Atlanta. Burial will follow at South-View Cemetery. Murray Brothers Cascade Chapel is in charge of arrangements.

Yancey was the valedictorian of Booker T. Washington High School’s class of 1933. He went on to Morehouse College, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 1937. He attended the University of Michigan Medical School, where he was one of four African-Americans in the class of 1941.

After an internship in Cleveland, he took a two-year surgical residency at Freedmen’s Hospital at Howard University School of Medicine in Washington. There, he studied under Dr. Charles R. Drew, known for his discoveries in blood storage and processing, among other things. Yancey then completed a surgical fellowship in Boston and went to Nashville for general and gynecological surgery experience.

In 1948 Yancey was appointed chief of surgery at Tuskegee Veterans Administration Hospital, where he established a surgical training program and conducted research. Ten years later, he joined the faculty at Emory and became the chief of surgery at the former Hughes Spalding Pavilion of Grady Memorial Hospital, a position he held from 1958 to 1972.

During that time Yancey put together an accredited surgical training program for African-Americans, a first in Georgia at the time. In 1972 he became the medical director at Grady and associate dean at Emory’s medical school. Around the same time, Yancey served as a member of the Atlanta school board for 10 years, said his daughter, Dr. Carolyn L. Yancey of Silver Spring, Md.

“He believed we all had a role to play in conquering segregation, and this was part of his contribution to the fight,” she said.

He retired in 1989 and was named professor emeritus of surgery at Emory. Two years later, Grady honored Yancey by putting his name on its health center on Bankhead Highway.

Yancey and his wife, the former Carolyn E. Dunbar, raised four children — three of whom became physicians. The couple had been married for more than 65 years when she died in 2010. One of their twin daughters, Caren L. Yancey Covington, died in 2005.

Carolyn L. Yancey said her father found joy not only in his work, but also with his family.

“He was a loving and caring father, who was always there for us,” she said. “You know, not everyone who has a parent who is a doctor can say that, but he always had time for us.”

In addition to his daughter, Yancey is survived by two sons, Dr. Arthur H. Yancey II of Atlanta and Dr. Asa G. Yancey Jr. of Denver; and eight grandchildren.



Surgeon, professor, medical director, and contributor to community service, Asa G. Yancey Sr., M.D., passed away on Sunday, March 10 at age 97.

Born in Atlanta, Yancey received his B.S. degree from Morehouse College in 1937 and his M.D. degree from the University of Michigan in 1941.

Yancey's career reached the heights of service as medical director at Grady Hospital and professor of surgery at Emory University School of Medicine, where he established the first accredited general surgery training program for Black surgeons.

Yancey has contributed numerous articles to the academic surgical community, and he has been recognized with many awards.

His articles explored issues of medical care, health care, and poverty including "Medical Education in Atlanta and Health Care of Black Minority and Low Income People," and "The Challenge of Providing Health Care for the Poor: Public Hospital Perspective." His book Portrayal of a Lifespan describes life as it was for him in the 21st Century.

Yancey received the Bennie Service Award in 1990 and he received an Honorary Doctor of Science from Morehouse College and Howard University. The Society of Black Academic Surgeons established a lectureship in the name of Asa G. Yancey Sr., M.D. The Emory University Health System recognized his professional contributions over the years by naming a healthcare facility, The Asa G. Yancey Health Clinic, in northwest Atlanta.

Yancey was married to the late Carolyn "Marge" E. Dunbar, and they have four children: Arthur H. Yancey II, M.D.; Carolyn L. Yancey, M.D.; Caren L. Yancey-Covington (deceased); and Asa G. Yancey Jr., M.D.

The wake will be held Friday, March 15, from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Murray Brothers Funeral Home, 1199 Utoy Springs Rd, S.W., in Atlanta. The telephone number is 404-349-3000. The funeral will be held Saturday, March 16, at 1 p.m. at Friendship Baptist Church, located at 437 Mitchell Street, SW., in Atlanta.

Asa's wife - Carolyn Dunbar Yancey

Asa Yancey Interview

Audio  Interview

Text Version

Asa Yancey at Emory

Asa Yancey

Asa Yancey
First African American Doctor at Grady Memorial Hospital


A native of Atlanta, Asa Yancey was the first African American faculty member in the School of Medicine. He joined the school's faculty in 1964. He also held the distinction of being Grady Memorial Hospital's first African American doctor.

At Grady, he was medical director of what is now Hughes Spalding Children's Hospital, and he also developed the first surgical residency program for African American physicians in the state of Georgia.

The Asa G. Yancey Health Center, part of the Grady Healthcare System, honors him and is located in northwest Atlanta.


Aas's father - Arthur H Yancey  - early postal carrier in Atlanta
and Author of a biographical work of interest.

The above from "  Born to Rebel: An Autobiography"  by Benjamin E. Mays


Jet Magazine -  Oct 29 1964

Asa G Yancey was the doctor of Martin Luther King



Asa G Yancey Jr.