Civil rights activist Dr. Reginald Hawkins again led the charge to desegregate public amenities in Charlotte, focusing this time on area hospitals as described in this article. This source uses outdated language to describe African Americans.
Racial Policy Stated: Memorial Hospital Drops All Bars
By Joe Doster | The Charlotte Observer | August 24, 1963
A new open-door policy for Negro admissions to Memorial Hospital will go into effect immediately.
Hospital administrator John Rankin said Friday that he had not yet met with the Memorial Hospital board, but, “It can be assumed that Memorial will begin immediately to apply the same admissions policies to Negro patients as to white patients.”
The statement by Rankin came in the wake of an agreement reached Thursday with a team of four investigators from the U.S. Public Health Service.
The Health Service team found that the hospital was discriminating against Negro patients in violation of federal law.
The investigators came to Charlotte to look into charges of discrimination lodged by Dr. R. A. Hawkins, Negro dentist and integration leader.
Under its old policy, the hospital admitted Negroes to its maternity and psychiatric sections, but limited other admissions to a 42-bed section of the sixth floor.
This section included surgical, general medicine, urological, and orthopedic patients, which make up the majority of the total hospital population.
While the new policy will go into effect immediately, its impact will not be heavy at first.
All beds at the hospital are now full, and the new policy will affect beds as they are emptied by departing patients.
The federal officials avoided any discussion of specific cases of discrimination in their findings but said the 42-bed limit was in violation of a non-discrimination pledge the hospital signed in 1957 when it received $3.8 million in federal Hill-Burton funds.
Adoption of the new policy probably will not mean that white and Negro patients would occupy the same rooms, although they might under unusual conditions.
The official position of the hospital on this question: “Personal preferences for hospital accommodations will be met in so far as bed availability and medical emergency permit,” Rankin said.
Citation: Doster, Joe. “Racial Policy Stated.” The Charlotte Observer, 24 August 1963, p. 33. America’s News – Historical and Current, https://infoweb-newsbank-com. Accessed 19 June 2023.
- According to this article, what strategies or actions did Dr. Hawkins and other activists take to achieve desegregation?
- How was the U.S. government involved in the process of desegregating Charlotte hospitals?
- What does this article suggest about personal preferences as it relates to hospital accommodations? Was desegregation fully achieved?
Wake: the path or course of anything that has passed or happened
Hill-Burton funds: money given by the federal government for communities to build new hospitals