Perry Weldon Beal, physician, was born in Calvert, Texas, to Perry W. and Edna (Handy) Beal on March 26, 1905. He attended school at the Calvert Colored School then attended Prairie View Normal and Industrial College (now Prairie View A&M University) to further his education and finished with a degree from Fisk University. He graduated from medical school at Meharry Medical College in 1935. He later moved to Houston in 1936 and opened his practice in the Odd Fellows Temple. He married Louise Elizabeth Spriggs of Henderson, Texas, in 1941, and they had seven children, one of whom died in infancy in Houston. They divorced in 1967, and he married Mildred Brim in 1979.
Beal was active in the community and in his profession. He shared a medical practice with his brother, Anthony Wayne Beal. During the 1950–51 school year the Beal brothers decided to attend University of Texas postgraduate school of medicine in Houston’s Texas Medical Center to acquire advanced courses in medicine. The two did not consider that segregation should prevent them from enrollment and did not create a controversy. As a result, the department admitted both of them, and they were the first African Americans to attend Mavis P. Kelsey’s course in modern therapeutics. Perry Beal also practiced at Riverside General Hospital (formerly known as the Negro Hospital) in Houston’s Third Ward. During his time in Houston, Beal, along with his brother Anthony and Dr. C. W. Pemberton, spearheaded a ten-year effort to get black doctors at the hospital recognized by the Harris County Medical Society. African Americans were previously denied membership to the society, as well as certain board certifications, and were not allowed to practice at Houston’s Jefferson Davis Hopsital. The Beal brothers, as members of the Lone Star State Medical Association and the Houston Medical Forum, were also very involved in the fight to get Herman Aladdin Barnett III admitted to UTMB Galveston in 1949. In addition, Perry was president of the Houston Medical Association, a vice president in the National Medical Association, and one of the directors of the Houston Negro Chamber of Commerce. He was also a city physician of the Houston Independent School District for African Americans.
After his move to Los Angeles in mid-1952, Perry Beal continued to practice medicine and was the president of the Medical, Dental, & Pharmaceutical Association. He was considered one of Los Angeles’s prominent African-American professionals. He made headlines when his family was forced to move from Berkeley Square so that the city of Los Angeles could build a freeway. Perry Beal died on January 20, 1984, in Los Angeles, California.
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Eugene B. Perry, “Riverside General Hospital: Formerly, Houston Negro Hospital, Houston, Texas,” Journal of National Medical Association, 57 (May 1965). Amilcar Shabazz, Advancing Democracy: African Americans and the Struggle for Access and Equity in Higher Education in Texas (Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 2004).
Health and Medicine
Physicians and Surgeons
Upper Gulf Coast
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Shawna D. Williams,
“Beal, Perry Weldon,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 28, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
August 12, 2013
Most Recent Revision Date:
September 9, 2017
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: