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Margaret Washington Clifford, Granddaughter of Booker T. Washington

“Beacon on the Hill” is a story of great historical significance whose poignant messages is as
timely now as it was in the 1930’s. From his perspective as Booker T. Washington’s personal
physician, John A. Kenney, M.D. documented never before published anecdotes and events as
they happened as he accompanied Dr. Washington on his Goodwill Tours throughout the South.
The “Requiem” chapter reveals details of Washington’s death that even his family did not know.
This book is a must for anyone who wants to understand Negro history in the twentieth century.”


Benjamin F. Payton, Ph.D., Past President, Tuskegee University

“John A. Kenney, M.D., was a seminal historic figure in transforming the health care and dignity
of African Americans. At a time when both were ignored or trampled upon with impunity, Dr.
Kenney forged an approach that made a huge difference in the first half of 20th century America.
A friend and colleague of Booker T. Washington and Robert R. Moton, the first two presidents of
Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University), like them, he knew the power that resulted from
building and focusing networks of institutions effectively on the amelioration of both social and
personal traumas.

So, with this vintage BTW approach, as well as his support and guidance, Kenney spearheaded
the development of two (2) hospitals – John A. Andrew at Tuskegee Institute, where he was the
medical director for 22 years; and the Kenney Memorial Hospital in Newark, NJ, which he
subsequently awarded to the community.

But, he did not just build hospitals; he directed them and their staffs in research-based
programs of community outreach as well as informed individual health care. His medical programs
in community health and hygiene eradicated small pox and typhoid epidemics in Tuskegee and
much of Macon County, AL. He established the nurse training program at Tuskegee, inaugurated
the John A. Andrew Memorial Clinics, and founded the Journal of the National Medical Association-
serving as its editor for 32 years.

Dr. Kenney was also a strong advocate of human dignity and social justice. He was a vocal
supporter of President Moton in the struggle to assure professional and leadership opportunities
for African Americans in the new Black Veterans’ Hospital that was built by the federal
government on land donated by Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University). The many
threats on his life and against his family forced him to flee the South in 1923. George
Washington Carver, a friend and colleague as well as one of his many patients, saw a Divine
Providence at work in Dr. Kenney’s sojourns.

In short, Dr. John A. Kenney was an indefatigable, courageous and enlightened health care hero
of America. On behalf of the entire University and its far-flung alumni, I express our admiration
and gratitude for his life and contributions. We also offer our deep thanks to his granddaughter,
Linda Kenney Miller, for having written this gripping and informative book about him.”


William R. Harvey, President, Hampton University

“This is an excellent tribute to a wonderful man who paved the way for so many African American
medical doctors. Beacon on the Hill should be read by all future doctors for it truly provides key
examples of how dedication to the field of medicine results in a successful practice. In his lifetime,
Dr. John A. Kenney made numerous accomplishments and this book outlines most of them. I am
pleased that Hampton University played a major role in shaping his career. Thank you Linda
Kenney Miller for sharing your grandfather’s life with us; I am sure he would be proud.”


Hazel R. O’Leary, President of Fisk University, Former U.S. Secretary of Energy

“Beacon on the Hill” by Linda Kenney Miller, a Fisk alumna, is a great read for a number of
reasons. Many would view the rich tapestry of the life of a compassionate physician, public health
expert and scholar as a story of a black man – indeed an extraordinary black man. This book is
more. It is a must read for those of us who understand that history illuminates the present and
provides for the reader an insight into today’s challenges of leadership and commitment to
profession and family. Linda is a remarkable story teller. The voice of her grandfather, John A.
Kenney, M.D., resonates with honesty, wisdom and grace. I recommend Beacon on the Hill to
those who seek a role model to instruct our actions as we face the myriad challenges of the 21st


Senator Corey A. Booker, former Mayor Newark, New Jersey

“It is an honor for me to applaud the work of one of our most distinguished citizen’s
granddaughter, Linda Kenney Miller, who has written a story about her grandfather that speaks
to the dedication and determination he had to serve this community and empower our City. The
collection and preservation of the evidence of Dr. Kenney’s remarkable achievements will give
hope and inspiration to a new generation of African Americans and all Americans. The hospital he
founded was critical to our City’s endurance and strength. This book will bring to life this
remarkable humanitarian, a true Newark hero.”


Winston Price, M.D., Past President, National Medical Association

“Beacon on the Hill” by Linda Kenney Miller is vibrantly stimulating and invokes an earth-
shattering look at how two people united in purpose and commitment rose above the many
hurdles that made up life’s experiences in early African-American history. Many times the true
unsung heroes in this Nation’s history are hidden in the multiple threads woven together that
make up the fabric of American life as we know it. This book’s portrayal of John Kenney’s
triumphs over adversity and his tremendous accomplishments in improving healthcare, promoting
social justice and general philanthropy is a must read for everyone who wants to be inspired
toward greatness.”


Robert M. White, M.D., FACP, Internist and Oncologist, NMA Member

“The basis of Beacon on the Hill took 75 years for Dr. John A. Kenney to live and another 50
years to bring forth his story for public consumption, enjoyment, and motivation. Linda Kenney
Miller has done the public a great service by sharing much of what her grandfather, Dr. John A.
Kenney, left in memoirs, correspondence, writings and other assorted documents that the family
possessed in their personal collection for the last 50 years.”


Dr. Jill Kahn, Author of The Gift of Taking, Honor Yourself First…All Else Will Follow

“Praise to Linda Kenney Miller for bringing to life one of the most powerful stories in history. In
Beacon on the Hill, the story of John A. Kenney, M.D. motivates and inspires us – and leaves us
thinking how we can bring his outstanding example into our life today.”


Mardeene Mitchell, Author, Literary Manager

“Linda Kenney Miller has skillfully brought to life her visionary grandfather and a significant piece
of American history in this compelling first novel. John A. Kenney, son of ex-slaves, in a
determined life well-lived from 1874-1950, found solutions to the same problems that afflict us
today: being disenfranchised, threatened by terrorism, fearful of plagues. It is a classic story of
character and courage in the face of adversity, love, sacrifice and duty to race and country –
inspiring no matter what your race, age, gender, religion, or politics – and an urgent reminder of
where our thoughts and priorities should lie in this time of Presidential elections.”


Eleanor W. Traylor, Chair, The Department of English, Howard University

“Linda Kenney Miller’s recovery project – the life story of her grandfather John A. Kenney, M.D. –
broadens our knowledge base and enriches our awareness of the indomitable vision, and artistic
creations of our distinguished African American Ancestry.”

-Award Winning Author-

Linda Kenney Miller

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