Slavery in the United States existed as a legal institution for more than  200 years until the passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865 following the Civil War.


Most slaves were of African descent and were held by whites; in the English colonies, their status as foreigners and, generally, non-Christians contributed to hardening the legal boundaries of slavery.  In 1662 the colony of Virginia passed a law adopting the stating that children of a slave mother inherited her status.


By the early 18th century, colonial courts and legislatures had racialized slavery, essentially creating a caste system in which slavery applied nearly exclusively to Black Africans and people of African descent.  According to the Census of 1860  the slave population in the United States had grown to more than four million.


Diseases Among Slaves

Slave faced serious health problems. Including poor nutrition, unsanitary living conditions and excessive labor made them susceptible to disease. 


Slave Diet

The slave diet featured very little in the way of vitamins, minerals and nutrients that were essential to good health and nutrition.


Because of this history it is important that the needs of the African American community be looked at from a unique perspective.  Many slaves suffered from horrible living conditions, working conditions and life conditions.  The end of slavery did not make everything that had gone on prior to and during slavery go away.  It has only been in the last 40 years that African Americans have gained some of the freedoms that should have been given to them when they were emancipated. 


A Healthy African American community cannot happen overnight, but it is important that we work to make it happen everyday and that we remember that African Americans are still traveling a long hard road to GOOD Health.




The Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition (NEOBHC) was formed in 2011 and became a non-profit 501(c)(3) in 2015. The NEOBHC is the first organization in the State of Ohio dedicated to addressing health disparities in the black community. 


NEOBHC’s strength is in its ability to work across multiple sectors using unified approaches regarding education, advocacy and empowerment utilizing partnerships to specifically meet  the unique needs of African Americans in Northeast Ohio. NEOBHC holds the following guiding principles for:


a.   Health and Health Care Disparities Elimination


b.   Capacity Building


c.   Community Empowerment

Yvonka Marie Hall is the Executive Director of the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition. NEOBHC is the first organization in Ohio dedicated to addressing health disparities in the African American community. She served as Director of the Cleveland Office of Minority Health and the Northeast Ohio Director of Cultural Health Initiatives for the American Heart Association.


Yvonka is a nationally recognized health disparities expert and serves as an advisor to numerous organizations. The 1974 murder of her mother dramatically changed her life; her childhood promise to use her life to help others has lead to the creation of cutting edge programs and impacted thousands of people’s lives. After the murders of her mother Yvonne, younger brother Antoine and best friend Tracey, she dedicated her life to working for the disenfranchised. 


Her personal tragedy fuels her commitment to community and dedication to her family including son Samario Antoine. and grandson Sebastian August. She is a proud mother, grandmother and activist deeply impassioned and involved in social justice activities. Whether it’s speaking against environmental issues, systemic racism, cardiovascular disease, infant mortality, domestic violence, health disparities, mental illness, juvenile justice, employment, education or hosting community forums, she uses her voice to make a difference in the lives of others.


She is a graduate of Texas Southern University and Notre Dame College of Ohio. She has the distinguished honor of being a Robert Wood Johnson Fellow.


Yvonka Marie Hall Executive Director

We are no longer accepting the things we cannot change.

We are changing the things

we cannot accept.


-Yvonka M. Hall

The Brown Rose


The brown rose conveys a feeling of warmth and stability. Despite of all of the atrocities that African Americans have faced we are still able to warmly embrace our ancestry and remain strong in our unrelenting faith.