Dr. Geiger first came to Mississippi in response to the clarion call sounded by Dr. Robert Smith, to provide healthcare to the Freedom Riders who were registering African Americans to vote in 1964. It was then that he became aware of the generations of African Americans in the Mississippi Delta, who had no access to healthcare, and were living in unhealthy and unsafe environments. Following that fateful “Freedom Summer,” Dr. Geiger, along with Dr. Robert Smith, Dr. Count Gibson, and others, held an all-night meeting in a Greenville, MS hotel, emerging with a commitment to establish “neighborhood health centers” to address the plight and unmet needs of underserved, impoverished people and communities. Tufts Delta Health Center was established in Mound Bayou, MS, with funding from the newly formed Office of Economic Opportunity established by President Lyndon Johnson.
While this is a day of great sadness, Dr. H. Jack Geiger’s vision and work positively affected the lives of millions of Americans. His vision, tenacity, commitment, and compassion was beyond reproach.