Honor or cultural appropriation? Hospital name spurs debate

Honor or cultural appropriation? Hospital name spurs debate

Honor or cultural appropriation? Hospital name spurs debate
Aug 16, 2022 1 min, 42 secs

Phillips Hospital was providing top-notch medical care to a predominantly African American part of St.

The 660-bed hospital closed 43 years ago, but the facility named for the man who led the fight to open a first-rate hospital for Black residents in segregated St.

Louis is still revered by the city’s Black community.

Phillips Memorial Hospital has been met by a strong backlash that includes a lawsuit, protests and newspaper editorials decrying what some see as cultural appropriation.

“That smacks of racism to me,” said Zenobia Thompson, 78, who trained at Homer G.

Darryl Piggee, a Black attorney who serves on the board of directors for the new hospital that is expected to open next spring, said it was his idea to name it after Phillips — to honor his legacy, not profit from it?

Louis, where about three-quarters of residents are Black and the median household income is 40% below the poverty line.

Louis American, noted in an editorial that it wasn’t opposed to the new medical center “but rather the insensitivity shown by the developer toward a community’s concern for his appropriation of the name of one of the Black community’s most hallowed and esteemed institutions.”.

Phillips was a prominent Black attorney who a century ago led the fight for a new St.

Louis hospital for Black residents in what was at the time one of America’s most segregated cities.

Phillips Hospital, said it was the “social, health and economic anchor” of its neighborhood.

Phillips remained open and continued to thrive, said Yvonne Jones, 75, who was a nurse there at the time.

Still, by the late 1970s, city leaders decided there was no longer a need for two city-run hospitals and ordered the closure of Homer G.

Phillips, but it didn’t work and the hospital closed in 1979, six years before the other city-run hospital shut down.

“When the hospital was closed it was like the death knell of the community,” Amusa said.

Phillips Memorial will offer 24-hour emergency room care capable of treating up to 15 patients at a time.

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