An interview of the Washington University Medical Center Desegregation History Project, conducted by Edwin W. McCleskey and associates, 1990. Approximate Length: 49 minutes.
Samuel Guze discusses his experience with segregation and desegregation of Barnes Hospital, Renard Hospital, as well as its psychiatric service and unit. He guesses the psychiatric service desegregated the Barnes Hospital psychiatric unit in October 1953.
He describes the desegregation of Washington University School of Medicine. He says the executive faculty gave the admissions committee discretion in flexible criteria for admission for those with disadvantaged educational background. Roy Vagelos of Biochemistry was a key player on the executive faculty along with John Herweg, who headed the admissions committee starting in the early 1960s. Guze recalled that the first African American medical student admitted had difficulty and the second had no difficulty, but the Executive Faculty wanted more African Americans admitted and numbers did not start to go up significantly until about 1968. Guze says this was due to the hiring of Robert Lee, Assistant Dean for Minority Affairs.
Guze discusses the parallel but related desegregation of the St. Louis City Hospital and health care systems. He notes that the segregated city healthcare system included two large general hospitals, Homer G. Hospital for Blacks and the older St. Louis City Hospital No. 1 for whites. He explains that there was one psychiatric unit at the Malcolm Bliss Center for whites and a separate psychiatric unit for Blacks run by Black psychiatrists at Homer G. Phillips. Guze recalls the teaching arrangement with Homer G. Phillips was less complete and depended on personal relationships in each service. Guze notes that desegregation of both facilities led the city to evaluate whether the city needed two large general hospital complexes. A group of Black physicians approached Guze in the 1970s about an affiliation, but Guze insisted on conditions that Homer G. Phillips was not prepared to meet then including the right to appoint medical staff.
Guze, Samuel B.