Dr. Hayward Maben, Jr. was born on June
3, 1922 in Augusta, Georgia to Ethel Marie and Hayward
C. Maben, Sr. He completed his medical training at Meharry
Medical College in 1945.
he became one of the first three blacks to be accepted
into the Wayne State University School of Medicine's
surgery residency training program, but transferred
out of the program after one year. He completed his
training at Meharry Medical College in 1963. He was
certified in general surgery in 1964 and in thoracic-cardiovascular
surgery in 1965 following a residency in Chicago. At
that time, Dr. Maben was the fifth African American
in the country to achieve such certification.
was able to secure an immediate appointment in the Children's
Hospital of Michigan's cardiovascular surgery department
and was given conditional surgical privileges at Harper
Hospital in 1967. After securing his appointment at
Highland Park General in 1969, following pressure from
a black activist group in that city, Dr. Maben received
appointments at Providence, Grace, and Sinai Hospitals-the
latter came as conditional privileges-between 1970 and
1973. In the meantime, he was on the surgical staffs
at the following black propriety hospitals: Boulevard
General, Burton Mercy, and Sumby Memorial Hospitals.
Dr. Maben instituted complaints about not being granted
full privileges at the major white hospitals based on
his training to the Wayne County Medical Society, Michigan
Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Department of Health,
Education, and Welfare, little or nothing was actually
done until 1981.
is a member of the Wayne County Medical Society, Michigan
State Medical Society, and Michigan Thoracic Surgeons
Society. He is an emeritus member of both the National
Medical Association and the Detroit Medical Society.
He has also been very active with the Detroit Cotillion
Club and the National Association for the Advancement
of Colored People.
Maben discusses some of his professional medical
So, once you came back to Detroit, what was your strategy?
after I learned that they didn't need me down at Meharry
Medical College-they couldn't afford me (I guess would
be a better word). I came back to Detroit and went into
private practice. I had built an office, and owned an
office here. I had rented it out while I was away, and
it had been closed for a while. I dusted things off,
and came back, and opened up my shingle right on Oakland
And what year was that?
was in 1965. Now, I was quite aware of racism in the
hospitals. And I didn't even bother to apply for staff
privileges. I worked in Black hospitals as much as I
could do. I didn't even bother to apply to the White
hospitals until I had passed my boards, until I had
become certified by the specialty boards. So, when I
came back in July, I spent a lot of time studying and
working, and doing whatever kind of surgery I could
find, because by this time I was a certified general
surgeon. I had to pass my specialty boards for general
surgery, so I would do general surgery to support my
family while I was studying for my cardiothoracic boards.
I didn't even apply to the White hospitals because I
knew what the hospital situation was like in Detroit.
So, I took the exams, and passed them in the fall of
that year. Then I applied as soon as I passed my boards
and had all my credentials together. They wouldn't have
any excuses, there was absolutely no excuse because
I trained at one of the finest institutions in the country,
so they didn't have any excuses. It was 1965 when I
passed the exams. That's when I sent out and got the
applications. And in 1966 was when I started getting
turned down by hospitals.
[For what] reasons?
is a whole subject unto itself. I applied to eight major
hospitals in the city of Detroit. These are major hospitals,
because we can't do my kind of surgery at small hospitals.
Not very well, anyway. You could make out, because I
did have to make out. But I applied to all eight major
hospitals in Detroit. I was turned down by every hospital,
every one with only one exception. Children's Hospital
of Michigan accepted me as a cardiac surgeon.