George Lee Shelton, Jr., a longtime Dallas physician and leader in the Black community, was born in Vernon, Texas, on June 22, 1922. He was the son of George Lee Shelton, Sr. George Jr. was a graduate of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. In the late 1940s, Shelton began his medical practice in Dallas with fellow physician Emmett Conrad. They offered their services to the South Dallas Black community from offices on the 4300 block of Oakland Avenue. Patients were many, and payment often came in the form of a litter of puppies or a plate of cupcakes. Shelton earned a strong reputation as a caring and dedicated physician and even made house calls.
In June 1954 Shelton joined four other men to make Dallas history in becoming the first Black doctors to practice at St. Paul’s Hospital. The group enjoyed most privileges at the hospital—the obstetrics department was barred to them apparently due to overcrowding—but hospital rules stipulated that only members of the Texas Medical Association (TMA) and Dallas County Medical Association (DCMA) could join the facility medical staff. After these organizations removed their White-only restrictions, Shelton, his original four colleagues, and two other local doctors were granted staff membership at St. Paul’s. Physicians Emmett J. Conrad and Benjamin E. Howell joined doctors William K. Flowers, Jr., Frank H. Jordan, Lee G. Pinkston, and Joseph Ralph Williams, along with Shelton, in their election by the hospital board. Dallas’s eighteen Black physicians at the time chose the first applicants from among their colleagues. Conrad, the only surgeon in the group, eventually became the hospital’s chief of staff in 1980.
Shelton served in leadership positions in many community and fund raising organizations, including the United Fund, the Youth Foundation, the Greater Dallas YMCA, and the American Cancer Society. He held membership in a number of fraternal and professional organizations, including the Idle-wild Cotillion Club, Dallas’s oldest African-American men’s organization; Psi Beta Sigma; the American Academy of Family Physicians; C. V. Roman Medical Society; and the Dallas County Medical Society. Shelton also served on the board of Dallas’s first integrated bank, Liberty National Bank of Dallas, when it opened in a temporary location at 2610 Forest Avenue in 1964. In 1973 the South Dallas Business and Professional Women’s Club honored Shelton with their Community Service Award, and in 2009 Dallas’s Park Board and community organizers unveiled a monument to Shelton and other leading Black Dallas citizens in Opportunity Park on the city’s south side.
Shelton was married to Maxine McGaughey, a Prairie View A&M nursing graduate, for forty-eight years. The couple reared four daughters: Karen, Helen, Georgetta, and Jewel. Shelton died from diabetes complications at Methodist Medical Center in Dallas on March 24, 1992, at the age of sixty-nine. His wife died just a few days later after suffering an asthma attack at her husband’s wake. On March 31, 1992, mourners attended a joint funeral for the couple at Glendale Presbyterian Church. The Sheltons were interred alongside one another at Lincoln Memorial Cemetery.
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Dallas Morning News, March 27, 29, 1992. Mamie L. McKnight, ed., African American Families and Settlements of Dallas: On the Inside Looking Out (Dallas: Black Dallas Remembered, Incorporated, 1990).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Michael M. Miller,
“Shelton, George Lee,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 18, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
July 24, 2013
Most Recent Revision Date:
April 14, 2021
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: