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E. Beardsley

physician, was born in Aiken, South Carolina, the daughter of Anderson Evans and Hariett Corley, occupations unknown. Her improbable achievement of breaking through the hostile racial environment of post-Reconstruction South Carolina to become a physician was due largely to her drive and talent. It was also a tribute to certain outside influences at work in the South of her youth.

In 1868 moved by the current of interracial idealism that was galvanizing so many northern progressives the Philadelphia Quaker Martha Schofield had established in Aiken a school for colored youth Although it emphasized industrial skills the school also offered a sizable infusion of cultural and scientific subjects Evans won a place at Schofield s school and her performance was so impressive that it caught the notice of the Quaker benefactress who encouraged and aided the younger woman to continue on at the preparatory academy of Oberlin College ...

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Darlene Clark Hine

At the outset of the Great Depression in 1930, Dr. Matilda Arabella Evans launched a free-clinic movement that inspired the Columbia, South Carolina, black community to demand healthcare citizenship rights, even as the state became less inclined to adopt any progressive reform that would improve the material conditions of black lives. Dr. Evans, however, insisted that healthcare was a citizenship right that was every bit a state responsibility, as was public school education.

Matilda Arabella Evans was the eldest of three children born to Anderson and Harriet Evans in Aiken County, South Carolina She came of age during the tumultuous post Reconstruction era The New South held scant opportunities for social class mobility higher education and professional careers for black women But Evans was more fortunate than most She was one of the few desperately poor black women who managed to escape the lifelong consignment to domestic drudgery ...