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Vibrant Lives. Vibrant Stories.
Dr. Ezekiel Edward Nelson 1881 - 1975

This biography was originally released on August 15, 2022 as a part of our on going series titled: Vibrant Lives. Vibrant Stories.
Written by Madison Matthews on the Staff of The Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission

Dr. Ezekiel Edward Nelson was born on January 1, 1881 in Louisiana. Nelson lived with his aunt and uncle at the age of ten since his mother’s passing. Nelson's family then moved to Texarkana, Arkansas so Nelson could attend formal school. Once Nelson completed school, he established a relationship with a white family where he was able to become employed. During Nelson’s employment the family realized that he was extremely smart and talented, which made them impact his choice of attending college. In 1904 Nelson left Arkansas and enrolled at Wilberforce University in Ohio. Years after his graduation from Wilberforce University in 1911 he entered the medical school at the University of Michigan. Yet, Nelson was only able to complete three years at the University of Michigan due to his lack of savings. As a result, Nelson started working in Detroit and eventually he was able to go back to school. However, he couldn’t resume his education at the University of Michigan so he attended Boston University in 1916 where he graduated from in 1918.

After his graduation, he moved to Buffalo, New York where he worked as a dining car waiter. Then in 1920 Nelson moved to Illinois where he married his college sweetheart Alberta F. O’Leary. The couple then moved to Buffalo so Nelson could potentially open up a medical practice. However, Nelson couldn't open his practice as of yet because he wasn't financially stable, so he continued working as a dining car waiter.  

Unfortunately, Dr. Ezekiel Edward Nelson died March 12, 1975. 

Thank you to our sources:

We want to give a special thanks to the Uncrowned Community Builders for providing the information for this story. Further readings on Dr. Ezekiel Edward Nelson are available on their websites.

If you have additional resources about Dr. Ezekiel Edward Nelson, please email us to let us know!

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