I watched an excellent documentary about the development of Charlotte’s health care system. Most notable was the establishment of hospitals by churches and citizens. Two major hospitals in our area can be traced back to the activities of individuals and their parishes.After the devastation of the War of Northern Aggression, Jane Wilkes saw a need for nursing skills while tending to wounded soldiers. She helped raise funds for St. Peters Hospital and also for Good Samaritan Hospital, which was the first privately funded all-negro facility in the state of North Carolina. She and her fellow citizens typified Alexis de Tocqueville’s ideals of what it means to be an American. This kind of civic pride and participation lasted until the mid-twentieth century when local governments began to take over the hospitals.
You won’t find monuments or public buildings named after Jane Wilkes in Charlotte. Those kinds of accolades belong to rapacious politicians who raid the public treasury. No, her legacy endures even though most Charlotteans don’t remember her.