The CLEVELAND HOSPITAL ASSN., begun in 1915, failed to gain hospital privileges for African American doctors and freer access to hospital care for African Americans. (A similar venture, FOREST CITY HOSPITAL, succeeded in 1939.) Before 1900, the black graduates of Cleveland medical schools had difficulty making a living, as the black population was less than 3,000, and most local hospitals barred black physicians. By 1910 5 African American physicians served a black population of 8,500. White patients seldom patronized black doctors. As blacks migrated to Cleveland from the South during and after World War I (see IMMIGRATION AND MIGRATION), the inability of black doctors to treat patients in hospitals threatened the health of the community. To aid both professionals and patients, Dr. Ellis A. Dale proposed a hospital for people of all races where black medical professionals could practice. Because of opposition by black doctors and by the Cleveland Assn. of Colored Men, it did not materialize. In 1921 Dr. Joe Thomas, arguing that a new hospital would alleviate overcrowding, established the Cleveland Hospital Assn. The association proposed the $250,000 Lincoln Memorial Hospital to offer training in NURSING for all women and an arena for physicians to practice their skills. The Cleveland Hospital Council of the Welfare Federation rejected the idea, as did the larger community. Undaunted, Thomas began to build a facility at his home on E. 40th St. but never completed it. The Cleveland Hospital Assn. faded along with the hopes for Lincoln Memorial Hospital.

A similar body, the Mercy Hospital Assn., got no further in its campaign to establish a black hospital because of the fear by some African Americans that such a hospital would lead to segregation in hospitals previously open to blacks. The agitation led to the formation of a committee to study the lack of black hospital privileges at City Hospital, which was supported by taxpayers of all races. Though the report did not favor any changes in hiring practices, a black physician and 2 black nurses were employed by City Hospital in 1928. By 1930, when DANIEL E. MORGAN came into office as city manager, the official attitude toward the hospital changed, and city council passed a resolution that gave all citizens of Cleveland equal opportunity to secure training as nurses and interns at City Hospital.

Davis, Russell H. Black Americans in Cleveland (1972).


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