Littlejohn, Nina

February 28, 1879–February 28, 1963

Aware that African Americans did not have access to suitable medical care, Littlejohn created the John-Nina Hospital in 1913.

Hospital administrator. Littlejohn was born on February 28, 1879, at Wheat Hill in Cherokee County. Her parents, Emanuel and Alice Littlejohn, were landowning farmers. In addition to planting crops on their vast acreage, the Littlejohns raised horses and bees. Nina married Worth Littlejohn, who lived at Near Tickety Creek. The couple moved to Spartanburg, where they built a house at 218 North Dean Street. Worth Littlejohn was a barber, and his Magnolia Street shop catered only to a white clientele. The Littlejohns had one child, a daughter.

Aware that African Americans did not have access to suitable medical care, Littlejohn created the John-Nina Hospital in 1913. This hospital was the first medical facility established specifically for African American patients in Spartanburg, and the only one licensed in Spartanburg County. A member of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, Littlejohn had political influence regarding civic programs beneficial for the hospital’s improvement. Her husband also utilized his business contacts to secure financial and community support for the hospital. Littlejohn arranged for the two-story medical structure to be constructed next to her house. Between 1913 and 1932 the John-Nina Hospital provided medical services for the area’s African American population. Patients were housed in two wards, holding a total of twenty people, and eight rooms, with a maximum occupancy of sixteen. An operating room was fitted with the most state-of-the-art surgical equipment and supplies available at that time. A backyard garden produced fresh vegetables crucial for the nutritious meals that aided patients’ healing and recovery.

Aspiring to serve patients and manage staff professionally, Littlejohn took business classes at Claflin College in Orangeburg to improve her administration of the John-Nina Hospital. By 1932 Littlejohn’s hospital was absorbed by the Spartanburg General Hospital, which opened an annex for blacks. Although some denounced her support of this segregated wing, Littlejohn was not deterred and persisted in her work to improve community conditions. She wanted to set an example of independence, capability, and fortitude for Spartanburg residents, especially African Americans.

After her husband died, Littlejohn married a Mr. Hunter. She was widowed a second time prior to dying on February 28, 1963, in Spartanburg. She was buried in that city’s Lincoln Memorial Gardens.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Littlejohn, Nina
  • Coverage February 28, 1879–February 28, 1963
  • Author
  • Keywords Hospital administrator, member of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce,
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date June 17, 2024
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update August 9, 2022
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