Dr. Lucius Charles Alston was born September 2, 1892 in Louisburg, North Carolina. After Dr. Alston graduated from the University of West Tennessee with a medical degree in 1918, which was difficult for an African-American to get at that time. He served in World War I in the 802nd pioneer infantry overseas.
When Alston returned he married Velma Young, who was a nurse at that time. In 1929 they moved to Mesa, Arizona into a small African-American community located in the Washington-Escobedo neighborhood northwest of the city proper.
During his time Mesa, like much of the nation, was a segregated community. When Dr. Alston moved to Mesa, African-Americans had their own shops, stores, and churches. He served as the community's first doctor. Alston set a wonderful example to other African-Americans demonstrating that they could obtain good-paying jobs and could contribute to the community in positive way. As a doctor he treated African-American, Hispanic, and African-Indian communities.
Alston passed away September 16, 1958 in Los Angeles, California. Although he died in California, his grave is here in Mesa because of all his contributions he made to this city.
As its listing on the National Register of Historic Places explains, the home itself is an excellent example of a 1920s Late Craftsman Style Bungalow, a style characterized by its high-pitched gables that run parallel to the front and sides of the house, and "its large, deep, front porch supported on stucco and concrete columns with an arch that extends the entire width of the porch." The second story addition was added during the 1940s.
Over the years, the house fell into disrepair and was slated for demolition until the City of Mesa acquired it in a land swap. Grants and donations paid for the restoration, completed in 2007, and the house opened in 2008 as the Alston House Peace and Justice Center. It is the headquarters of the Mesa Association of Hispanic Citizens and the Mesa Martin Luther King Celebration Committee.