Remembering Dr. David M. French

My father, Dr. David M. French, is in the final hours of his life, at University of Virginia Hospital, in Charlottesville. Dad was a founder of the Medical Committee for Human Rights, which played an instrumental role in the U.S. Civil Rights movement, dealing with the LBJ White House to gain Federal protection for marchers in the South, and with my mother, the late Carolyn H. French, providing medical care for participants during the great marches. He worked for Edward Kennedy and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to investigate American bombing of civilian targets in Vietnam during the war. He was a pioneer in developing public health policies and primary care services in 20 African countries, during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Earlier in his career, as a pediatric cardiac surgeon he did a lot of the basic early research in open heart surgery and heart transplantation. He never stopped growing, and this has always been a source of great pride and inspiration. For all who knew him, please spare a thought or a prayer.

8 thoughts on “Remembering Dr. David M. French”

  1. Howard, my heart is heavy having heard of the passing of your father. Knowing him was a true blessing in my life. As a child, at the Garden of Children, I remember what a huge figure he was and was in aware of his accomplishment reaching out to mankind. Your generation and the ones that follow had an amazing teacher in your father. May God bless all the French family.

  2. Howard, I am so saddened to hear of your father’s passing, but I will continue to be inspired by his example and lifted up by his sweetness for the rest of my life.

    Your cousin, Carla Thomas

  3. Howard,

    Sending condolences to you and yours. Your father’s life and legacy are truly reflected in all of you.

    I’ll see you at the memorial.

    Your cousin, Sheila Thomas

  4. Dear Mr French

    Your father was indeed a remarkable man. My commiserations. My he rest in peace.


    Brett Cole

  5. Thank you for the life and work of your parents, and for the example of service to African people and to humanity that Dr. French’s brilliant work set for us all. I will raise his name this morning in class and have encouraged the Office of University Communications to make sure that the Howard University community be made aware of Dr. French’s passing. May the Creator and the Ancestors receive his spirit back into the great oneness.

    Greg Carr
    Chair, Department of Afro American Studies
    Howard University

  6. Howard,

    I ‘met’ you by chance when I saw your book at the library, A continent for the Taking, a book that lays bare some perennial problems that have always impacted on Africa. I was touched how you got malaria while in Congo DRC and called your father, whom you said had a lot of knowledge about Africa. He must have been a caring man, besides having time for the world, he could still take a moment to listen to his children. May his soul rest in peace.

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