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Black Doctor Who Delivered Over 10,000 Children Honored With Street In Milwaukee

Dr. William Finlayson is a treasured figure in Milwaukee’s history. For nearly six decades, the 98-year-old has defined Black excellence for the city’s residents as a prominent fixture in both the healthcare and finance industries.

On Tuesday, Aug. 8, the street that once housed his first private practice was officially named N. Doctor William Finlayson Street in honor of the community leader and entrepreneur.

Affectionately known as “the baby doctor,” Finlayson practiced obstetrics and gynecology for 40 years, delivering nearly 10,000 babies, some of whom were on hand for the ceremonious occasion. According to Milwaukee Mag, he was the first Black OB-GYN at both St. Joseph and Sinai Hospital; aiding in the two institutions coming together. The Morehouse College alum and WWII veteran would also go on to open Milwaukee’s first Black-owned bank, North Milwaukee State Bank. Through the institution, Finlayson made key strides in arming his community with the resources necessary for financial empowerment.

“Milwaukee has many streets including people who have made an impact on the city, including Juneau, Kilborn, Cass Street and more,” said Albert L Smith who served as Master of Ceremonies for the street naming. “Now, we have a street to honor Dr. Finlayson, a towering figure in Milwaukee history.”

N. Doctor William Finlayson street runs alongside Vel R. Phillips Avenue and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, to further illustrate the significance and prominence of the near centenarian.

For the good doctor, life has been full of great accomplishments; however, Tuesday’s tribute was one that moved him deeply.

“Oh, it was a great ceremony, it’s very memorable. I hope to look back five years from now; it’s an honor,” he said.

The celebration was capped by an announcement from Dr. Eve M Hall, president and CEO of the Greater Milwaukee Urban League, that the W.E.B Dubois Club—which empowers Black men in the areas of finance, education and leadership skills—will be resurrected thanks to a generous $10,000 donation from Finlayson and his family.

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