Bluford Healthcare Leadership Institute › Forums › 2020 BHLI Cohort Engagement › From Separate to Equal and The 1619 Project › Reply To: From Separate to Equal and The 1619 Project
Throughout my academic career, I have yet to encounter such a worthwhile text like that of The 1619 Project. This article was truly amazing taking the stories of the past, relating them to the social conflicts of today, while predicting future outcomes based on previous events. After reading, I could feel nothing but pride and gratitude towards my black ancestors who went through gruesome hardships so that I may possess opportunities that they themselves only dreamed of. However, the actions of certain white Americans and the government, modeled after their beliefs, leave me concerned for the well-being of myself as a black individual, along with any other minority groups currently living in the United States. Reading stories like that of the Bolling Family and Greenwood, Oklahoma provided great examples of the potential success black people can have in society. Buddy Bolling, an innovative entrepreneur who reinvented white industries into respectfully black-owned businesses that did not require slavery, and Greenwood, a neighborhood full of some of the most successful black people in the country at the time, shared one common element; neither parties experienced a happy ending. Due to the hatred and jealousy of some white Americans, Bolling and Greenwood were met with gruesome endings, leaving each one of them with nothing to spare. The 1619 Project allowed me to ponder the fact that “our” Founding Fathers and “our” Constitution and “our” government had no intention of allowing black people to become full fledged American citizens. In all honesty, black people have separate Founding Fathers and Mothers who fought and died solely for the betterment of our race. In the United States, black people began at the bottom and “our” Founding Fathers and their governmental system try to keep us there to this day.
The From Separate to Equal documentary about the origin of Truman Medical Center was an intriguing watch. During my viewing of the project, I felt nothing but admiration for the black healthcare officials who showed no hesitation to stray from the status quo and become licensed doctors, nurses, and administrators; in addition, I experienced surges of anticipation while waiting for the black healthcare officials to be completely accepted into the medical field, as equals to their white counterparts. Along with other professions, it took many years for black doctors and nurses to be respected as officials. But, even with their licenses, black healthcare officials faced segregation, being forced to work in poorer conditions than that of white Americans. Individuals, like Dr. Thomas Unthank, Dr. S.H. Thompson, Dr. John Perry, and many more, worked in the “separate but equal” facilities, utilizing their wits and any other resources that may not have been provided in order to better the lives of the black, KCMO residents. With the different black-owned hospitals and medical houses popping up all over the city, I still find it astonishing that so many of them had gone under before the creation of Truman Medical Center. Many centers went out of business during the video, but it was unclear why.