Julian H. Lewis was born in 1891 in Shawneetown, Illinois. He earned a Ph.D. in physiology and pathology at the University of Chicago in 1915 and then went on to earn a medical degree at Rush Medical College. He was one of the first African Americans to hold both a medical degree and a Ph.D. In 1917, he was hired as an instructor at the University of Chicago, the first African American to hold a teaching position at the university.
Dr. Lewis left the University of Chicago in 1943 to work at Provident Hospital in Chicago, the first Black-owned and operated hospital in the United States. He continued to work there until his death in 1989.
On February 21, the University of Chicago will hold a symposium on Dr. Lewis. A commissioned oil painting of Dr. Lewis will be unveiled at the ceremony. The painting will later be donated to Smithsonian National Museum of African American History, scheduled to open in Washington in 2016.