An interview of the Washington University Medical Center Desegregation History Project, conducted by Edwin W. McCleskey and associates, 1990. Approximate Length: 19 minutes.
David Goldrings relates stories he heard and his own experience with the admission of black children to St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
He begins with stories he heard about the attitude of chiefs of pediatrics, hospital administrators, and hospital board toward the admission of black children to children’s Hospital. John Howland was the first chief of pediatrics at the Hospital and he left to go to Johns Hopkins Hospital after 6 months because the Hospital board was opposed to the admission of black children to the hospital. This situation changed when St. Louis Children's Hospital opened the Butler Ward, a black only ward in 1923.
David Goldring’s own experience began with his internship and residency in 1941-1944. One night, a black child needed an incubator and there was none in the Butler ward. So David Goldring admitted him to the infant ward. Estelle Claiborne told David Goldring that this was the sort of thing that got interns fired and reported it to Alexis Hartmann Sr., his chief of pediatrics by a phone call. She was quite angry that Hartmann let the admission stand, but integration did not happen frequently in the war years.
Integration of the staff of St. Louis Children's Hospital began with the Nash family. Helen Nash joined the medical staff in 1949 and Homer Nash in 1955. For years before, Park J. White was committed to the training of African American interns and residents as an attending physician for 25 years at Homer G. Phillips. David Goldring and Neil Middlecamp were aso attendings in pediatrics at Homer G. Phillips Hospital for about 10 years.