800 Jolly Pond Road • Williamsburg, VA 23188
Phone: (757) 565-9300| Fax: (757) 565-9301
Front Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Dr. J. Blaine Blayton was born in Oklahoma Territory in 1905. He attended school in a two-room schoolhouse. He earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from Howard University in Washington, D.C. He began his medical practice on the Virginia Peninsula during the first half of the 20th century at a time when Virginia was still highly racially segregated under the old Jim Crow laws which were later overturned by various U.S. Supreme Court decisions beginning in the 1950s and before the new Civil Rights laws of the 1960s were enacted.
He arrived in Williamsburg in 1931, having been persuaded to set up his medical practice in the area by African American residents who had been traveling to Newport News for medical appointments and care. He settled with his family in the Grove Community.
During his half-century of practice, Dr. Blayton made house calls across a wide area of the Peninsula extending from New Kent County to Newport News. During the administration of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, he served as a New Deal public health physician, and built the two-bed Blayton Maternity Hospital for the African American community.
In 1952, he opened a new 14-bed hospital with an emergency room in Williamsburg for African Americans. He also opened a sandwich and soda shop to serve young people shut out of other facilities by segregation. His Medical Center Clinic was the primary health care facility for the Williamsburg area’s African American citizens until the 1961 opening of the fully-integrated Williamsburg Community Hospital, which Dr. Blayton helped to raise money to build.
Dr. Blayton was appointed to the Virginia State Board of Medical Examiners by Virginia Governor Charles S. Robb. In 1999, he was honored by the Williamsburg Community Health Foundation as one of the first three recipients of its Healthcare Heroes Recognition Award.
Dr. Blayton was active in many civic matters, such as education and recreation in the Williamsburg community. He was the first African American member of the James City County School Board; he co-chaired the campaign to raise $250,000 for the construction of Quarterpath Park; he was director of health and safety for the Peninsula Boy Scouts for 25 years, and was a life member of the NAACP. A residential facility for senior citizens was built in downtown Williamsburg and named the Blayton Building in Dr. Blayton’s honor. Dr. Blayton died in December, 2002, at the age of 97.
Dr. Blayton’s son, Oscar H. Blayton, became the first African American to attend the College of William and Mary as an undergraduate in 1963. He graduated from Yale University Law School in 1977, and opened a law practice in Williamsburg.