Robert J. Boland was a physician and African American leader in Roanoke. The Georgia-born Boland earned his medical degree in Michigan. He arrived in Virginia in 1886, possibly becoming the first Black doctor to complete the new Virginia Board of Medical Examiners test. Five years later he settled in growing Roanoke, headquarters of the Norfolk and Western Railway, where he became a substantial property owner and a newspaper editor. Boland died in Roanoke in 1918.