Meet the first Black woman to open a private optometry practice in North Carolina

Meet the first Black woman to open a private optometry practice in North Carolina


Paula Newsome holds many “first” titles, including being the first Black woman to open her own optometry practice in North Carolina.  

She became the second Black woman to become an optometrist in the state and was the first Black woman in history to become a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry.

Though Newsome has succeeded in her career, she says she has overcome many obstacles related to her race and gender in the profession.

Now 67, Newsome owns Advantage Vision Center, a private optometry practice that has operated in Uptown Charlotte since 2003, where she treats thousands of patients each year.

Early life

Newsome grew up in Wilmington, N.C. during the 1960s. Both of her parents were educators — her mother taught social studies and language arts at Williston Junior High and her father taught drafting and electricity at Williston Senior College. 





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