The collection includes photographs, correspondence, booklets, and other mixed materials from Dr. Andrew Best's military service, medical career, civic work, and personal life.
Dr. Andrew Arthur Best was born on 1916 November 26 in Lenoir County, North Carolina to Lewis W. and Cassie (Dawson) Best. In 1936, he graduated from Kinston's Adkin High School and began his college career at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (North Carolina A&T) in 1940. While at North Carolina A&T, he joined the Advanced ROTC and planned to join the U.S. Army after graduation. Instead, he was drafted into the U.S. Army on April 30, 1943 and served in the Fifth Army during World War II. In 1946, he returned to North Carolina A&T and graduated with a degree in agriculture in 1947. He completed his Doctor of Medicine at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee in 1951. Dr. Best established his medical practice in Greenville, NC in 1954.
Throughout his career, Dr. Best served the humanitarian needs of the area, encouraging African American students to enroll at East Carolina University and bringing highly qualified African American faculty and staff to the University. Dr. Best helped orchestrate the desegregation of East Carolina College, the Greenville business community, and Pitt County Memorial Hospital (now Vidant Medical Center). Best was awarded many honors, including appointment to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors in 1971 and to the East Carolina Board of Trustees in 1973. During his tenure on the Board, he worked with Chancellor Leo Jenkins and others to lobby the state legislature for the creation of a medical school at East Carolina University. In his capacity as a Trustee, he served on the 1974-75 search committee for the first Dean of the ECU School of Medicine and the committee eventually hired Dr. William E. Laupus. He also recieved North Carolina's highest honor, the Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award, in 1998 and 2001. Dr. Best continued to practice medicine in Greenville until shortly before his passing in 2005. In 2006, he posthumously received ECU's highest service award, the Jarvis Medal, in recognition of his distinguished service. At a ceremony in September 2019, the tenth street connector bridge in Greenville was named in honor of Andrew Best.
This collection is grouped into 6 series that reflect different parts of Dr. Best's life. The first series has material pertaining to his military career, dating from 1941-1953. Each subseries reflects the format type, including correspondence, documents, photographs, memorabilia, and publications. Dr. Best was in the ROTC while in college, served in the Second World War, and completed an internship at Fort Bragg in the early 1950s. Anything addressed to a military facility or with his rank listed is included in this series.
The second series includes papers from him time in school, inlcuding high school, college, and medical school. The third series contains his personal papers and family photographs, dating from 1914 to 2001. Correspondence recieved, photographs taken, stereoscopic slides collected, and other memorabilia can be found in this series.
The fourth series contains several folders of material related to Dr. Best's medical career. This includes items from his office in Greenville, booklets, and photographs. The fifth series contains items related to his community service and his service to the Jericho A.M.E. Zion Church in Kinston. The sixth and final series features biographical information, autobiographical writings, awards, tributes, and certificates.
2014 January 27, (unprocessed) four posters. Donated by Andrew A. Best.
2014 January 10, (unprocessed) three panels, 36" x 74.25". Each panel is tri-fold and each division is 2' x 3' or 24" x 36". They each have a separate header panel of 12" x 24". Donated by Andrew A. Best.
Donated by Andrew A. Best
Processing revised by Ashley Williams, 2015. Updated and revised by Layne Carpenter, 2019.
Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.
Related artifacts are held in Laupus Library History Collections.
Fred and Malene Irons Papers (LL 02.63), The William E. Laupus Health Sciences Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
Oral History Collection (LL 02.03), The William E. Laupus Health Sciences Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
Pitt County Memorial Hospital Papers (LL 02.09), The William E. Laupus Health Sciences Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
Dr. Earl Trevathan Jr. Papers (LL02.73), The William E. Laupus Health Science Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, NC, North Carolina, USA.
Terry Sanford Governor's Papers, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA.