Lillard, Harvey

First chiropractic patient
Late deafened at about age 22, when he threw his back out while bent over in a stooped position. Suffered deafness and back pain for the next 17 years, until a conversation with Daniel David Palmer, practicer of "magnetic healing therapy" in the building where Lillard worked. Years later, according to Palmer and official chiropractic history, he examined Lillard and found a badly misaligned vertebra. Palmer manipulated the vertebra back into place, and Lillard could hear again. A different version comes from Lillard's daughter. According to her, Lillard told her he was telling jokes to a friend in the hall outside Palmer's office and, Palmer, who had been reading, joined them. When Lillard reached the punch line, Palmer laughed and slapped Lillard on the back with the hand holding the heavy book he had been reading. A few days later, Lillard told Palmer that his hearing seemed better. This inspired Palmer to explore manipulation as an expansion of his magnetic healing practice. According to the daughter, "the compact was that if they can make [something of] it, then they both would share. But, it didn't happen." Whatever the truth, from this experience Palmer developed the entire field of chiropractice, and Lillard is considered the first chiropractic patient, although virtually nothing is known of Lillard's life afterwards. A society of Black students of chiropractice is named after Harvey Lillard.
References (seen on May 28, 2003).