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Robert Lee oral history

An interview of the Washington University Medical Center Desegregation History Project, conducted by Edwin W. McCleskey and associates, 1990. Approximate Length: 1 hour and 35 minutes.

Robert Lee discusses his work as Assistant Dean for Minority Student Affairs at Washington University School of Medicine and his efforts to increase recruitment, admission, and retention of Black students and students from other minority groups.

Lee begins by discussing how he came to work at Washington University and his early years as the Coordinator for Minority Student Affairs. He discusses changes in how the School of Medicine recruited students from minority groups and supported students who enrolled, and how he worked to build credibility for the programs he implemented.

Lee then relates how Black faculty and students were historically obstructed from joining the school, and how segregation affected patient care and treatment at Barnes Hospital and St. Louis Children’s Hospital. He addresses how health care for the Black community has changed since the closure of Homer G. Phillips Hospital.

Next, Lee discusses local and national recruitment strategies and the relationships he and his department have built with historically Black colleges and universities as well as predominantly white institutions. He addresses how tuition plays a role in attracting students from underrepresented minority groups and what strategies they have taken to create scholarship programs. He explains that John Schultz, John Herweg, John Walters, Howard Phillip Venable, and John Anderson played a significant role in recruiting Black students before he was hired.

John C. Herweg oral history, June 29, 1990

An interview of the Washington University Medical Center Desegregation History Project, conducted by Edwin W. McCleskey and associates, 1990. Approximate Length: 44 minutes.

John Herweg discusses federal grant programs for attracting minority students, and admissions procedures for Washington University School of Medicine, and how the school has and has not been successful in attracting and retaining Black students and students from other minority groups.

Herweg begins by clarifying the medical school’s commitment to the recruitment and education program for minority students and further explaining capitation grants, both of which he discussed in his first interview. He then discusses the federal grant programs for minority students available in the 1970s.

Herweg next explains the admissions criteria for the medical school, how applications are reviewed, and how the number of applications from Black and other minority students has changed over time. He addresses the fact that the applicant pool of Black students has increased but the number of Black students enrolled has remained fairly stable. He then discusses the university’s commitment to students from other minority groups, and how it can attract them. He closes by saying he believes that the school is on the brink of a leap forward and then gives his thoughts on the future of the school.

John C. Herweg oral history, June 13, 1990

An interview of the Washington University Medical Center Desegregation History Project, conducted by Edwin W. McCleskey and associates, 1990. Approximate Length: 45 minutes.

John Herweg discusses the segregated wards for Black patients in Barnes Hospital and the desegregation of St. Louis Children’s Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.

Herweg begins by relating the experiences of medical students at Washington University when he was a student in the 1940s, and compares those experiences with contemporary students. He explains how medical students were assigned patients in one of the segregated ward at Barnes, Ward 0400, and the similarities and differences between the wards for white and Black patients.

Herweg then relates the events that led to the removal of the Black wards and desegregation at Children’s Hospital. He discusses his involvement in the desegregation of the medical school and the first Black students to enroll, including the first post-graduate student in 1947. He also explains how the medical school attracts and retains Black students, and what measures have been put in place to help Black students succeed.

Howard Phillip Venable oral history

An interview of the Washington University Medical Center Desegregation History Project, conducted by Edwin W. McCleskey and associates, 1990. Approximate Length: 1 hour and 16 minutes.

Please note that some of Venable’s statements contain ambiguities that the interviewers were unable to verify.

Howard Phillip Venable discusses his experience at Homer G. Phillips Hospital, the desegregation of hospitals in St. Louis, his work with students, and his experience with housing discrimination.

Venable describes how he came to work at Homer G. Phillips Hospital and the segregation of medical care and medical education in St. Louis in the 1930s and 1940s. He explains the connections between Homer Phillips, Washington University, and St. Louis University, and discusses the doctors from Washington University and Barnes Hospital who came to Homer Phillips. Venable also relates his work identifying ophthalmological differences between Black and white patients.

He addresses his role in desegregating an ophthalmology society in St. Louis, the housing discrimination he faced in Creve Coeur and his case against the city, and the part he played in the desegregation of St. Louis hospitals. He relates his experience as a Black doctor before Barnes integrated, and the white patients he saw at his private practice. He also discusses the closure of Homer Phillips and the differences between Homer Phillips and Max Sarkloff Hospital (City Hospital No. 1).

Venable discusses the establishment of the Katie and Howard Phillip Venable Student Research Fund in Ophthalmology and his experience as an associate examiner for the American Board of Ophthalmology. He also explains what he thinks should be done to get more Black students into medical school.

Paul N. Saunders oral history

An interview of the Washington University Medical Center Desegregation History Project, conducted by Edwin W. McCleskey and associates, 1990. Approximate Length: 64 minutes.

Paul Saunders discusses the suit he and others filed against Barnes Hospital in 1978 for civil rights violations, as well as the state of health care policy and health care for Black people in St. Louis.

Saunders discusses the policy for “geographic separation of patients” at Barnes Hospital’s Maternity Hospital, initiated by hospital director Robert Frank in 1978, and the suit Saunders and others filed with the Missouri Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

He addresses hospital policies and procedures which create informal segregation, and the effects of white flight on medical care in St. Louis, particularly for indigent patients. He discusses the need for national health insurance, and barriers created by the current health care system for Black patients.

Julian C. Mosley, Jr. oral history

An interview of the Washington University Medical Center Desegregation History Project, conducted by Edwin W. McCleskey and associates, 1990. Approximate Length: 57 minutes.

Julian Mosley, the second Black student to graduate from Washington University School of Medicine, discusses his experiences as a student in the 1960s and recruitment strategies and programs for students from minority groups.

He begins by explaining why he decided to come to Washington University. He discusses the other Black students in his class and his efforts to recruit more Black students to the medical school. Mosley also discusses the work of Robert Lee as Assistant Dean for Minority Student Affairs and his success at recruiting students. He addresses specific efforts on the part of Lee, other students, and the university that supported minority students, including tutoring and individualized programs.

Mosley next discusses the Wessler Committee and later, their recommendations. He addresses the lack of Black professors at Washington University and at the medical school, and the lack of Black students in the residency programs. He also discusses the effects of the Supreme Court case Regents of the University of California v. Bakke on minority student recruitment.

He discusses his experience with integration in high school in East St. Louis, in the Air Force Academy, and at Washington University, and his experiences with professional societies and student medical associations and programs.

Lastly, Mosley explains what he believes needs to be done to recruit more Black graduate students and faculty, and gives his thoughts for the future.

William M. Landau oral history

An interview of the Washington University Medical Center Desegregation History Project, conducted by Edwin W. McCleskey and associates, 1990. Approximate Length: 67 minutes.

As background to the desegregation of hospitals and Washington University School of Medicine, Landau discusses his experiences with segregation in St. Louis as a child, and as medical student, house officer, and resident at Barnes Hospital and the School of Medicine. He mentions figures who played a role in desegregation, including David Goldring, Alexis Hartmann, Sr., and Park White, and discusses the obstruction to integration at Barnes from Frank Bradley, the director of the hospital, and the board of trustees. Landau also discusses the desegregation of the School of Medicine.

Michael M. Karl oral history

An interview of the Washington University Medical Center Desegregation History Project, conducted by Edwin W. McCleskey and associates, 1990. Approximate Length: 11 minutes.

Michael Karl discusses the ways in which hospitals were segregated in St. Louis when he first came to the city in the 1930s, and how the desegregation of Barnes Hospital came about.

Karl begins by addressing the status of segregated medical facilities in St. Louis in the early 1930s and 1940s and then discusses the desegregation of Barnes Hospital and the elimination of the segregated wards for Black patients, Wards 0300 and 0400. He remarks on the role the hospital boards played in preventing the hospital from desegregating, and the similarities and differences between the Black and white wards.

Karl also discusses the high level of medical care for Black patients at Barnes Hospital and some Black physicians who worked at Barnes.

He says he believes Barnes was integrated in 1962, however the exact date when the hospital was fully integrated is not known.

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