Johnson City

Local health department named after regional pioneer

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - The health department in Washington County, Tennessee was re-named Sunday in honor of a man that many say shaped the region in the late 1800s.

The name of Dr. Hezekiah Hankal is now displayed outside the health department. Dr. Hankal was a physician, teacher, minister, and an alderman for Johnson City in the late 1800s, jobs that were almost unheard for a black man at that time.

But now, during Black History Month, the area he helped shape is now honoring him.

The project to honor Dr. Hankel was headed by the Langston Heritage Group, a group who works to preserve local African-American history. "You have to tell your stories, if you don't people will forget. This man was forgotten for 110 years. You have to tell the story and his story will always be told in this building," said Mary Alexander, member of the Langston Heritage Group.

The health department moved to its current location on Princeton Road in June of 2010.

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