As America recognizes the significant achievements of such African-Americans as Harriet Tubman, George Washington Carver, Jackie Robinson and Martin Luther King Jr. this February during Black History Month, the Association of New Jersey Chiropractors (ANJC) salutes the first chiropractic patient in history, Harvey Lillard, an African-American.

Lillard was the owner/operator of a janitorial company in Davenport, Iowa, where Daniel David Palmer, the founder of chiropractic, had his office. On Sept. 18, 1865, Palmer performed an adjustment on Lillard, immediately restoring his hearing after 17 years of deafness.

Lillard was capable of communication and told Palmer that earlier in his life he could hear. He told Palmer that one day he had bent down and heard a popping sound in his neck. When he stood up, his ability to hear was gone.

Palmer asked Lillard if he could examine him to see if he could help him, and he agreed. The examination revealed a lump or bump in the same area Lillard had heard the popping noise years before.

Palmer instructed him to lie face down on a table, placed his hands on the bump and pushed on it. When Lillard stood up, he could hear. In fact, he stated that for first time he could hear the horses walking on the cobblestone road outside the office. On that day, 117 years ago, chiropractic was born.

“We are proud of our role in providing a holistic health care resource for individuals of all ages throughout the state,” said Dr. Joseph D’Angiolillo, president of the ANJC, which represents over 2,000 chiropractors statewide.

“D.D. Palmer was the pioneer who set us on our path and Harvey Lillard was the shining example of the tremendous benefits patients receive from chiropractic adjustments,” he said. “All of us are grateful to both of them.”

As Palmer’s first patient, Lillard provided the inspiration for the development of the art of adjusting and the knowledge of the techniques and principles surrounding the science of chiropractic. Palmer’s procedure involved what is widely known today as spinal manipulation, the adjustment or maneuvering of the spinal column to give the body a better ability to cure itself.

Palmer went on to establish what is now known as Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport. Today there are chiropractic colleges and universities all over the world helping provide increased access to quality non-pharmaceutical health care.

ANJC is one of the largest associations of chiropractors in the nation. Its mission is to educate its members on the latest technology and advancements in the profession and to become a trusted, relied-upon information resource for the public regarding the benefits of chiropractic care.

For more information, visit ANJC’s website at or call (908) 722-5678.