Warriors of Wellness – Selene River Press


This past month of February, we celebrated Black History Month in the United States. As chiropractors, we have the great honor to celebrate our heritage from D.D. Palmer and his first patient, Harvey Lillard.

Harvey Lillard, an African American, operated a janitorial service in the Ryan Building in Davenport, Iowa. When, in September 1895, D.D. Palmer gave his first chiropractic adjustment to his first patient, Harvey Lillard, Lilliard’s life changed forever. And it established the foundation of the chiropractic philosophy, science, and art of our chiropractic profession.

D.D. Palmer describes this first chiropractic adjustment:

“Harvey Lillard, a janitor in the Ryan Block, where I had my office, had been so deaf for 17 years that he could not hear the racket of a wagon on the street or the ticking of a watch. I made inquiry as to the cause of his deafness and was informed that when he was exerting himself in a cramped, stooped position, he felt something give in his back and immediately became deaf. An examination showed a vertebra racked from its normal position. I reasoned that if that vertebra was replaced, the man’s hearing should be restored. With this object in view, a half-hour talk persuaded Mr. Lillard to allow me to replace it. I racked it into position by using the spinous process as a lever and soon the man could hear as before. There was nothing ‘accidental’ about this, as it was accomplished with an object in view, and the result expected was obtained. There was nothing ‘crude’ about this adjustment; it was specific, so much so that no Chiropractor has equaled it”.
Peterson, D., & Wiese, G. (1995). Chiropractic: An Illustrated History. Mosby.

D.D. Palmer was looking for the cause of disease. In the months after his adjustment of Harvey Lillard, D.D. Palmer accumulated extensive knowledge of the working of the human body and, in January 1898, opened the Palmer School and Infirmary of Chiropractic.

With our celebration of Black History Month let us always remember Harvey Lillard in the roots of our founding. Let us celebrate and remember the roots of humanity’s creation from the dust of the earth and the root of how our body is designed to express Life. All of humanity, everyone, all races, black, white, brown, red, all religious beliefs, all share the common denominator of a brain communicating with the body by way of the specifically designed nervous system encased in the spine. This Life we live is accomplished by way of our brain communicating the Life Force to all cells in our body by sending the Life Force through our nerves in our spinal cord. This is termed vitalism.

From Harvey Lillard’s willingness to take a spinal adjustment, and D.D. Palmer’s knowledge of the solution needed to free the spine, we have in our hands the vital knowledge to give to all humankind the ability to restore ourselves to a life of abundant health.

Images from iStock/AndreyPopov (main), yacobchuk (post).

Dr. Michael Dority

DR. MICHAEL DORITY, now retired from his 44 years of chiropractic practice in Nebraska, credits his professional success to supporting the patient’s nervous system with whole foods, whole food supplements, and patient education. He has contributed to the health and well-being of many grateful families over the years. You can find Dr. Dority’s patient education posters here at Selene River Press.



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