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Beloved pharmacist in Milwaukee's Black community dies at 89

Updated: Jan 31, 2022

Dr. Lester Carter founded one of the Milwaukee's first Black-owned pharmacies.


A longtime Milwaukee business trailblazer has died.

Dr. Lester Carter was 89 years old.

He founded one of the Milwaukee's first Black-owned pharmacies.

Carter owned and operated Carter Drug Store at North 24th and West Burleigh streets for 47 years.

He passed away after being ill.

Carter was still working and serving his community.

The Milwaukee Common Council released a statement expressing their condolences to Carter's friends and family members.

"He touched thousands of lives in positive ways during his time in business and beyond," the statement read. "He helped improve the overall quality of life for community members, and as we remember his service, we think of his special touch.

"Not only did you come to Dr. Carter's store to get a prescription for whatever your ailment was, but he was also a source of inspiration. When you left his store, you were going to feel better before you even took that first pill or applied that ointment."

The Common Council named a street in Carter's honor in 2018.

"Dr. Carter was much more than a pharmacist. He was a community institution. And his professional activities were so important in keeping his customers healthy," Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson said in a statement. "He was also an accomplished and humble man. Dr. Carter faced racism and, notwithstanding that, enjoyed success in his career. He was a resource, an innovator, and a trusted counselor."

He sold his pharmacy a few years ago but still helped the new owners by serving as a consultant in natural remedies.


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