There was a time when African Americans were totally excluded from U.S. medical schools. Then, due to a need for doctors to serve Black patients, since many White physicians preferred not to do so, segregated medical schools for African Americans were established.
Prior to the civil rights era, only token numbers of Black students were admitted to predominantly White medical schools. Beginning in the early 1970s, Blacks began to make inroads. In 2011, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, there were 5,581 African American students in U.S. medical schools. They made up just under 7 percent of the total enrollments.
In 2011, 16 percent of all African American medical school students were enrolled in the three historically Black medical schools: Meharry, Howard, and Morehouse.
In 2002, Blacks were 6.9 percent of all U.S. medical school graduates. This percentage increased to 7.1 in 2006. But since that time the Black percentage of all U.S. medical school graduates has decreased. In 2011, there were 1,129 Black graduates of U.S. medical schools. They made up 6.5 percent of all medical school graduates that year.