The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Dr. Juel Pate Borders

Rev. and Dr. Juel Pate Borders was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia. Her father, the late civil rights leader Reverend William Holmes Borders, was the pastor of Wheat Street Baptist Church in Atlanta for more than fifty years. Borders lived just a few blocks away from young Martin Luther King, Jr., who would later pattern his preaching after her father’s eloquent style.

Borders attended the Palmer Memorial Institute, a college preparatory school in Sedalia, North Carolina, established by nationally acclaimed African American educator Charlotte Hawkins Brown. In 1954, Borders earned her B.A. degree from Spelman College in Atlanta. She went on to the Medical College of Pennsylvania earning her M.D. degree in 1960, with a specialty in obstetrics and gynecology. Borders did her residency at the Albert Einstein Medical Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and opened her own practice in Atlanta in 1965.

Borders has maintained her family tradition of social activism. In the early 1970s, for example, she served on a court appointed biracial committee charged with overseeing the process of desegregating the Atlanta Public School System. Decades later, she pursued a second career when she followed her father’s footsteps into the ministry. She earned her Masters of Divinity degree in 1992, from the Emory University Candler School of Theology. She is the assistant to the pastor for the institutional ministries at Wheat Street Baptist Church. In the 1980s, the prominent physician had a building erected to house her practice. She is a member of the Women’s Health Care Alliance, a non-profit, independent practice association composed of physicians, specializing in obstetrics & gynecology, perinatology, gynecological oncology, and reproductive endocrinology.

Borders is a widow and the mother of two children, Rev. Theodore Benson, a minister in Philadelphia, and Dr. Elinor Benson, an Atlanta obstetrician and gynecologist.

Juel Pate Borders was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 25, 2004.

Accession Number

A2004.036

Sex

Female

Interview Date

3/25/2004

Last Name

Borders

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widow

Middle Name

Pate

Schools

Spelman College

Drexel University

Oglethorpe Elementary School

David T. Howard High School

Atlanta University Lab School

Palmer Memorial Institute

Emory University

First Name

Juel

Birth City, State, Country

Chicago

HM ID

BOR01

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Illinois

Favorite Vacation Destination

Alaska

Favorite Quote

I Am Somebody.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Georgia

Birth Date

8/26/1934

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Atlanta

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Fruit

Short Description

Obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Juel Pate Borders (1934 - ) was the first black female OB/GYN resident at the Albert Einstein Center Northern Division in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and is the founder of the Juel Pate Borders Corporation in Atlanta, Georgia.

Employment

Wheat Street Baptist Church

Albert Einstein Medical Center

Juel Pate Borders Professional Corporation

Morehouse College School of Medicine

Favorite Color

Beige

Timing Pairs
0,0:3462,46:4408,70:5612,120:10600,207:19626,335:34655,459:45790,521:58104,724:58524,730:66412,760:67399,773:76327,823:99180,1093:99536,1098:122558,1305:123378,1317:129280,1360:137501,1431:157840,1610:158290,1616:177218,1785:179910,1799:188470,1847:188754,1852:189109,1859:189464,1865:189748,1870:190174,1878:191523,1904:191807,1909:199466,1995:201302,2016:201812,2022:227260,2286$0,0:66918,595:67230,600:77006,664:77638,675:80798,716:81114,721:81588,728:113536,1008:117268,1035:120148,1070:164150,1313
DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Juel Pate Borders' interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders talks about her mother

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders describes her mother's personality

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders talks about her father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders talks about her father's drive to obtain an education

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders recalls her father's early career

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders talks about her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders talks about her paternal grandfather

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders states her maternal grandmother's names

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders talks about her first minister in her paternal family

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders recalls the heirlooms and houses associated with her family

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders describes her childhood neighborhood of Auburn Avenue in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders reminisces about Sundays growing up in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders recalls her father's competition and reconciliation with Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr.

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders talks about Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s visits to her father's church

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders describes her brother's relationship with their father

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders describes her relationship with her father

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders recalls her early education at Atlanta University Laboratory School, Oglethorpe School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders remembers attending David T. Howard High School in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders recalls the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders describes herself as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders talks about her experience at the Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia, North Carolina

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders remembers Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders names some of her high school teachers

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders explains how she entered Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders talks about her studies at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders remembers an incident where he father intervened in a conflict due to discrimination on a trolley in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders recalls entering medical school

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders describes her experiences in medical school

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders talks about encountering racism from other medical colleagues

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders recalls encountering racism during her internship and residency

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders explains why she specialized in obstetrics and gynecology

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders describes setting up her medical practice in Atlanta, Georgia

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders explains how she met her husband

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders recalls her marriage to Dr. Theodore Benson

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders talks about her children, pt. 1

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Dr. Juel Pate Borders talks about her children, pt. 2

DASession

1$1

DATape

2$4

DAStory

4$4

DATitle
Dr. Juel Pate Borders recalls her father's competition and reconciliation with Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr.
Dr. Juel Pate Borders explains why she specialized in obstetrics and gynecology
Transcript
Now I know that you are younger than the King children, and the Dobbs children, but do you recall any interaction among your families, [Reverend Dr.] Martin Luther King, Jr.'s family, which was not very far from where you lived, their home on Auburn [Avenue, Atlanta, Georgia]? Did you ever visit their home and interact in any way?$$There was more interaction between the two ministers, Reverend William Holmes Borders, Sr. and Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr., they were rivals. The wives however, Mrs. Alberta [Williams] King and my mother, Mrs. Julia Pate Borders [Julia Elinor Pansy Pate], were the dearest of friends and they loved each other very much. And they would laugh--they would talk and laugh about the conflict their husbands would have and would hope that in time they would out grow it or come to some happy conclusion, you know, about the whole matter. And I have--on the occasion that I preached at Ebenezer [Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia], I told the congregation that at last--my mother didn't live to see it and Mrs. King didn't live to see it, but I lived to see them come together very peacefully and it was on the occasion of the death of Mrs. King. When she was shot [in 1974], of course we were all in a state of shock--the whole world was in, was in a state of shock. And I remember my father saying, "Get up, get dressed we are going to see Reverend King." That impressed me so much. He got us all together and we went to the home of Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. He was sitting in the kitchen eating, it must have been lunch or early dinner or something and my father, who was fully dressed, came in and spoke to him and said, "These are my children." And Dr. King graciously received us and I can't remember really what they said to each other, I was just so happy that we had this peaceful union, and of course, from what I could tell from my mother and Mrs. King what they were fussing over was nothing, I mean it was just a--next to nothing, it was just two great big giants one block from each other. Both with churches, and so there you go.$$Competition--$$But, but for him to say, "Get up, get dressed, we're going to see him," and then to say to Dr. King, "These are my children," and in other words we have come in love, it was a great moment.$Why did you decide to specialize in, in obstetrics and gynecology (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) And gynecology, okay. (Pause) I wanted I thought to pursue psychiatry. Up to this point my father [William Holmes Borders] had not really interfered with the choices. Remember he turned me over to my mother [Julia Elinor Pansy Pate], but he had a long talk with me in reference to practicalities and he said, "Who's coming to see you? I mean who will be your patients? Where do they get the money--who will be able to afford psychiatric care?" Now this was in the 1960s. At that time there was less stress and I'm going to say in general the approach would be if there is a major emotional problem either you go to your family member or you go to your minister, but psychiatrists at that time (shakes head). So I listened and I thought about it and I said to myself, well what are my other options and considerations? And OB [obstetrics] was a happy specialty and gynecology would mean that there was some surgery involved and there would be patients and patients and patients. And so I got into this field indirectly. It was--in retrospect it was a good move and I have been blessed with those who have come into my care and the amount of work and sacrifice required prepared me for the ministry that I'm in.