Dr. Charles Blair was a crusader for health care equality in Asheville's Black community. 

As a boy, Dr. Blair was drawn to the medical profession by a heartfelt desire to heal and alleviate the suffering of his loved ones. Dr. Blair attended Amherst and Alcorn State for his undergraduate studies, earned his medical degree from Meharry Medical College, and reached the rank of major in the U.S. Army.

When he arrived in Asheville in 1990, Dr. Blair quickly saw the inequities in local health care and set out to make change. He opened the New Hope Community Health Center on The Block, where he served low-wage and indigent residents who did not have health insurance or access to quality health care. At the time, he was one of the few Black doctors in town. 

Blair went on to found the Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement, an organization aimed at addressing the discrepancies between Black and White health care. He also co-founded Asheville’s Building Bridges program, which educates people on how to intentionally engage in dialogues about racism.

He died on April 3, 2009, at the age of 54. He was buried in his hometown of Canton, Mississippi.

Dr. Charles Blair pictured above. Photo courtesy of ABIPA

Charles Blair Obitituary:

Dr. Charles Edward Blair, 54, passed away Friday, April 3, 2009.

Born in Canton, Miss., in addition to his parents, Annie and AJ, Dr. Blair is survived by his wife, Jeannie, daughters, Liz and Kathy, and son, David Charles, as well as brothers, Alfred Jr., Terry and Darrell (Nancy), and sister, Elaine.

A member of Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, Dr. Blair was a talented doctor, compassionate healer, and visionary thinker. An undergraduate of Amherst and Alcorn State, he graduated from Meharry Medical College and completed his internship, residency and first medical staffing in the U.S. Army, where he rose to the rank of Major as Chief of Professional Services, 546th General Dispensary, while stationed in West Germany.

Since coming to Asheville in 1990, Dr. Blair has been a Staff Physician at the Buncombe County Medical Center and Sisters of Mercy Urgent Care. For a number of years, he served on the North Carolina Minority Health Advisory Council . The founder and medical director of the New Hope Community Health Center, Dr. Blair also served as medical director of the Three Streams Family Health Center. A pioneer working to achieve quality healthcare for all, his community service includes founding the Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement as well as cofounding Building Bridges, Rites of Passage of Asheville, and The Drum 2000.