J. Harvey Black, allergist and professor, the son of John Adam and Nancy (Murphy) Black, was born on March 27, 1884, in Huntington, West Virginia. He grew up in Paris, Texas, and attended Southwestern University, Dallas Campus, from 1900 to 1902 and Atlanta College of Physicians and Surgeons from 1903 to 1905. He received his M.D. in 1907 at Southwestern Medical School in Dallas (see UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS SOUTHWESTERN MEDICAL CENTER). In 1906–07 he interned at St. Paul's Hospital in Dallas. Afterward he continued his training at Montreal (Quebec) General Hospital, the research laboratory of the New York Board of Health, and Philadelphia General Hospital.
In 1907 he began his medical career in Dallas by opening a private clinical-pathology practice; he joined the staff of Southwestern University Medical Department as a professor of bacteriology and pathology and remained until 1915. In 1914 he became dean of the medical school, then under the supervision of Southern Methodist University. He married Arlene Patton on September 4, 1913, in Catlettsburg, Kentucky. They had two daughters.
Baylor University College of Medicine in Dallas employed Black as a professor of bacteriology and pathology, preventive medicine, and clinical medicine from 1915 to 1942. In addition to teaching he remained active in his clinical pathology practice, which in 1932 changed from a general practice to one specializing in allergies. He was an author of several articles dealing with allergies, in addition to coauthoring several books, including Practice of Allergy in 1948 and Primer of Allergy in 1950. In Dallas he was consultant at Children's Medical Center after 1930 and Parkland Hospital from 1945.
Black was secretary and chairman of the Dallas Advisory Medical Board under the Selective Service System in 1917–18, a diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine, a fellow of the American College of Physicians, and a member of the Texas Medical Association, the Dallas County Medical Society, the American Public Health Association, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Medical Association. He was also president of a variety of medical associations, including the American Society of Clinical Pathology (1929–30), the American Association for the Study of Allergy (1934–35), and the Texas Pathology Society (1934–35). He was chairman of the Dallas Interracial Committee and of the medical division of various Dallas social agencies. He was active in the Dallas Council on World Affairs, the Dallas Chamber of Commerce, and the Better Business Bureau. His social activities included the Dallas Philosophical, Town and Gown, Athletic, and Rotary clubs. He was a Mason and Democrat. Black died on November 30, 1958, in Dallas, after suffering a heart attack during the service at Highland Park Presbyterian Church, where he was an elder and a Sunday school teacher.