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Power to Heal

POWER TO HEAL tells a poignant chapter in the historic struggle to secure equal and adequate access to healthcare for all Americans. Central to the story is the tale of how a new national program, Medicare, was used to mount a dramatic, coordinated effort that desegregated thousands of hospitals across the country practically overnight.

Before Medicare, disparities in access to hospital care were dramatic. Less than half the nation's hospitals served black and white patients equally, and in the South, 1/3 of hospitals would not admit African-Americans even for emergencies.

Using the carrot of Medicare dollars, the federal government virtually ended the practice of racially segregating patients, doctors, medical staffs, blood supplies and linens. POWER TO HEAL illustrates how Movement leaders and grass-roots volunteers pressed and worked with the federal government to achieve a greater measure of justice and fairness for African-Americans.

'Having spent most of my career studying the civil rights movement, I assumed that I was well informed about its many dimensions. But watching Power to Heal was a revelation to me. The film is a fascinating and instructive story about the long American struggle for social justice.' Clayborne Carson, Professor of History, Founding Director, The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute, Stanford University

'What a wonderful film. This chronicle of the leadership of black physicians, nurses, and dentists with their white allies should be shown to each entering class in US health professional training programs. It is a glorious story of this enduring struggle for equality with an important victory along the way. Power to Heal is full of lessons for today's students, their clinical colleagues, and professors as we try to cope with the current situation that would take us back to this cold dark past.' Dr. Peter Orris, Professor and Chief of Service, Occupational and Environmental Medicine, University of Illinois Hospital and Health Sciences System

'Power to Heal has a critically important yet heretofore untold story to tell. And it does so in a way that is both painstakingly accurate and profoundly moving. The range of historical film footage and interviews is remarkable.' Paula Braveman, Professor, Family and Community Medicine, Director, Center on Social Disparities in Health, University of California, San Francisco

'Power to Heal shows both the destructive legacy of racism in American health care and the potential for collective action to redress these wrongs. We should be inspired by Medicare's role in desegregating our nation's hospitals, and should insist on further reform - like improved Medicare for all - to address the systemic racism that plagues patients of color to this day.' Dr. Claudia Fegan, National Coordinator, Physicians for a National Health Program

'Power To Heal is long overdue. It unearths another painful past - racial segregation and discrimination in healthcare during Jim Crow, resulting in Blacks being denied basic medical care. This is a must see. It's riveting from start to finish.' Michele Goodwin, Director, Center for Biotechnology and Global Health Policy, Professor of Law, University of California - Irvine

'A powerful documentary. A moving story of the twin struggles for racial justice and health care, and how the two struggles intersect. This is an important film because the struggles for racial justice and access to health care continue.' Alan Goodman, Professor of Biological Anthropology, Hampshire College, Past President, American Anthropological Association

'An outstanding presentation...Brings this history to light. It is critical to view this film to see how a powerful movement brought needed change to American healthcare. This film should be seen by citizens everywhere and shown in every classroom.' Janet Golden, Professor Emerita of History, Rutgers University - Camden, Author, Babies Made Us Modern: How Infants Brought America Into the Twentieth Century

'A powerful film offering deep and accurate insight into our nation's history regarding racial segregation in health care delivery and health policy. A great tool to teach students, policy workers and those simply interested in gaining a better understanding of our country's sordid past regarding racism and health inequity. This film serves as an important reminder and lesson - of where we've come from and the power of grass-roots activism - for those of us in the fight to achieve health equity amidst the current day challenges in our society.' Dr. Rachel Hardeman, Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota School of Public Health

'Many unsung heroes of health care and civil rights history appear on camera here for the first time, along with extensive archival footage on medical discrimination and the contentious passage of Medicare. The story it tells reminds us how far we have come, but also how far we have to go to end racial inequality in health care. The film should be of great interest to community groups that advocate for equal rights and health care for all, and will be a valuable teaching tool for university-level courses in civil rights and public health history.' Beatrix Hoffman, Professor of History, Northern Illinois University, Author, Health Care for Some: Rights and Rationing in the United States since 1930

'A remarkable film...Essential viewing for anyone interested in the deeper conversations about health disparities and the pursuit of equality today.' Michael Olender, Manager of Outreach and Advocacy, AARP North Carolina

'It is essential that students and young physicians from all backgrounds know their history and how our profession both supported and worked to dismantle segregated healthcare in our country. This is a critical film that not only speaks to a time that has passed in our American history; it foreshadows to the present. Segregated healthcare still persists and is highly invisible in this country - except to the people who experience the ills of it. And so this film challenges us all as physicians and soon-to-be physicians to recognize that our collective work to ensure justice in health must always move beyond our typical work within hospital walls.' Aletha Maybank, Deputy Commissioner, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Director, Center for Health Equity

'An excellent documentary on a lesser-known chapter in the American Civil Rights Movement: the desegregation of hospitals, and the heroes - both the famous and the more obscure - who made it happen. A must-see for anyone wanting to learn more about the history of race and medicine in America and how it began to change during this pivotal time.' Dr. Damon Tweedy, MD, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Duke University School of Medicine, Author, Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor's Reflections on Race and Medicine


Main credits

Glover, Danny (narrator)
Berney, Barbara (filmmaker)
Berney, Barbara (film producer)
Burnett, Charles (film director)
Friedman, Roberta (film producer)
Loewenthal, Daniel (film producer)
Loewenthal, Daniel (film director)
Loewenthal, Daniel (editor of moving image work)
Reid-Jhirad, Anna (screenwriter)
Reid-Jhirad, Anna (film producer)
Taylor, Stephen James (composer (expression))

Other credits

Additional writing, Martin Dornbaum, Leslie Clark, David Barton Smith; music by Stephen James Taylor; edited by Daniel Loewenthal; co-editor, Michele Zarbafian; camera, Alex Allgood [and 9 others].

Docuseek subjects

Distributor subjects

African-American Studies
Civil Rights
Human Rights
Political Science
Race and Racism
Social Justice
Social Psychology
Social Work


Medicare, civil rights movement, racial justice, segregated care, desegregating hospitals, access to healthcare, segregating patients, segregating blood supplies, segregating linens, history of medical segregation, segregation in the North, Hill-Burton Act, institutional racism, George Simkins Jr., 1964 Civil Rights Act, Freedom Summer, fight for Medicare, HEW as civil rights enforcement agency, hospitals integrated, black hospitals, Parkview Hospital, Mississippi, Yazoo City, AMA, National Medica Association, Medgar Evers, NAACP, Medical Committee for Human Rights, Dr. King, Martin Luther King, President Johnson, Everett Dirksen, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, Michael Schwerner, John Gardner, Center for Disease Cpontrol, Amreican Hospital Association, HEW shuffle, University of Mississippi Medical Center, David Barton Smith, John Dittmer, Karen Kruse Thomas, Robin D.G. Kelley, Gerald Oppenheimer, Jonathan Rosenberg, Edith Jones, Arthur Kellerman,; Judy Norsigian,; Peter Libasi,; Dr. Alvin Poussaint,; Phyllis Cunningham,; Dr. Aaron Shirley,; Helen Barnes,; L.C. Dorsey, ; Raylawni Young Branch, Bob Smith, Charles Evers, Alvin Blount, Larry Brilliant, Donald Chapman,; Phyllis Cunningham,; Antoinette (Toni) Daniels,; Josephine Disparti,; Sidney Feldman, Jack Geiger, Phillip Lee, Peter Libassi, John McKnight,; Michael Meltsner,; Roger Platt,; Jesse Roth,; Robert Smith, ; Julian Suttle,; Perlene Williams, David Satcher,; Dorothy Ferebee,; Silvia Drew Ivie, Dr. Robert Marston; "Power to Heal"; Bullfrog Films,doc; history; politics; sociss

Script for Power to Heal: Medicare and the Civil Rights Revolution

Copyright by BLB Productions, LLC,  Barbara Berney




Danny Glover:                     01:00:06               In 1965, as the Civil Rights struggle escalated, black Americans were in the streets fighting for justice and equality. They were being attacked and killed, but a different kind of violence was taking thousands of black lives every year. Segregated medical care was a brutal reality for black Americans.

Charles Evers:                     01:00:35               Negroes has one ward. If you were dying from cancer, if you were there to have a baby, whatever. You're on the same ward

Aaron Shirley:                      01:00:42               Everything was segregated. Not just the hospitals, but physicians’ practices. I was the only black pediatrician in the entire state.

Sylvia Drew Ivie:                01:00:52               People were dying as a result of that segregated system.

Danny Glover:                     01:00:55               The 1964 Civil Rights Act tied federal funds to desegregation. Now Medicare, with its promise of federal funds, created an opportunity to end the shocking inequalities in medical care.

Danny Glover:                     01:01:15               This is the remarkable story of how Civil Rights activists and the federal government, working together, desegregated thousands of hospitals practically overnight, bringing lifesaving care to millions of Americans. This little known story reveals the role of countless people who never took center stage, but who's shoulders we stand on.

Danny Glover:                     01:01:40               For most of America's history, a system of racial segregation dictated every aspect of life. In no area was this more true than in healthcare.

John McKnight:                   01:01:53               You think about the Civil Rights movement, you think about: housing, public accommodations, education, but I think the story hasn't been told often about what happen in terms of the institutions of medicine. So that's an unrevealed history part of the history.

David Satcher:                    01:02:10               When I was two years old, I almost died of whooping cough. Being admitted to the hospital was not even an issue, the hospital was segregated as were most hospitals in the South.

Toni Daniels:                        01:02:22               I couldn't lift my head, and I couldn't sit up. My uncle came and picked me up. He took me to the hospital, and the hospital said "we don't know what this is, but we're not gonna take a black child that we don't know what it is."

Camara Jones:                    01:02:37               Living was separate and unequal, so that made some individuals and communities sicker than others, in the first place. But then, once you got sicker, the access to the healthcare system was also unequal.

Danny Glover:                     01:02:50               Black activist doctors, such as Dorothy Ferebee, created health outreach programs that served thousands of black Americans in the South before World War II. Shut out of white hospitals, black doctors founded their own hospitals, but limited resources and a hostile government crippled their efforts. Lacking access to mainstream medicine, people in rural communities resorted to home remedies passed down through the African American community for generations.

L.C. Dorsey:                           01:03:22               Only access to healthcare had been what your parents, or grandparents, or other people on the plantation knew about things that grew and that they had access to.

Danny Glover:                     01:03:30               In the mid 1960s, while poor people of all races had little access to medical care, segregation made access even worse for people of color.

Jack Geiger:                          01:03:40               I didn't have to go to Africa, or Latin America, or Southeast Asia. We had a Third World, including a Third World for healthcare in Mississippi. People who lack food and clothing and shelter no protected water supplies having to haul clean water from 5 or 10 miles away disease malnutrition suffering and their combinations were rampant.

Al Poussaint:                        01:04:08               This was a population that had no medical care, practically, and many who had never seen a physician before in their life. Women who had eight children, but had never seen a physician.

Helen Barnes:                     01:04:20               The system was a feudal system. You would get permission from the person that owned the plantation, and they would give you a note that you could go to the doctor.

L.C. Dorsey:                           01:04:34               A lot of hypertension, and people assumed it was a birthright my momma had. So they just sort of waited for it to attack, and waited to have the strokes and everything.

Jack Geiger:                          01:04:42               These were reasons that life expectancy was so short for blacks in Mississippi, that infant mortality was so high.

Danny Glover:                     01:04:50               In both the North and South, black babies died at twice the rate of white babies.

Bob Smith:                             01:04:56               30 to 40% of live births was at home. Sometimes, not only at homes, but in the cotton field.

Helen Barnes:                     01:05:03               We didn't have a nursery, and we just took drawers out of cabinets and put babies in them, you know, and we could put those right by the mother's bed so we didn't lose and babies or anything.

Raylawni Branch:              01:05:15               There was just a little broom closet where they would stick a bassinet, and you'd have to go and check on your own baby.

Jo Disparti:                            01:05:23               They would tell fathers of newborns that they couldn't have their wife and baby back until they paid a certain amount of money.

Raylawni Branch:              01:05:31               It was a $125 bill, and I said, "I don't have $125," and the lady said, "well, we'll just have to keep the baby." And I thought, "that's excellent! I'll come and visit him every day. He's gonna get fed and taken care of."

Brenda Armstrong:          01:05:53               In our town, we could not use the hospital. It was called Parkview Hospital. With her final pregnancy, my mom was going to need a C-section. The baby was big. Dad went to the administrator at the hospital to say, " could she please be delivered there," and they refused. She went into labor. They couldn't get her to the colored ward, so they delivered her at home and my brother ... I'm gonna have a hard time with this. My brother sustained a stroke because of it. That moment is why I'm a physician. It also was the defining moment for me about what disparities really were.

Danny Glover:                     01:06:56               Disparities between black and white Americans were legally validated by an 1896 Supreme Court ruling that segregation was constitutional, as long as the races were kept separate but equal. And they were separate, but never equal.

Aaron Shirley:                      01:07:13               Everything was black and white. There was a black section, and a white section. The cafeterias, the hospital waiting area, the rooms, the beds and everything were in separate parts of the hospital.

Al Poussaint:                        01:07:27               Everything was inferior on the black side, from equipment, to the blankets, to the room, to the painting. It was just clear.

Raylawni Branch:              01:07:35               Everyone was on one floor, no matter what you had, a baby, TB, or whatever.

Al Poussaint:                        01:07:44               Every time you went into a hospital that was segregated, it was saying to you that your life as a black person was not worth as much as a white life. You didn't give them titles like "mister," or "misses," or "miss," or anything.

Pearline Williams:           01:08:01               The white patients were misses and the black patients were Pearline, Sally, or Sue, whatever.

Al Poussaint:                        01:08:08               They used "boy" for black men no matter how old they were, you were "boy."

Ruby Washington:            01:08:13               They never got grown. They were just always a child to somebody that was white.

Al Poussaint:                        01:08:17               I learned, in a difficult way, that it applied to me too. One time two state troopers drove up, stopped the car, and jumped out, and came over to me. They said, "what's your name, boy?"

Al Poussaint:                        01:08:30               And I said, "Doctor Poussaint," and they just looked at me.

Al Poussaint:                        01:08:34               And they said, "what's your name, boy?" And I said, "Doctor Poussaint."

Al Poussaint:                        01:08:40               And they said, "what's your first name, boy?" And at that point, one of the policemen put his hand on his gun. My secretary was trembling, and she yanked my arm. She knew the system, and she fel that the next step was that they would hit me, and she was probably right. And so, I told them, "Alvin."

Al Poussaint:                        01:09:02               He said, "good," he said, "next time you give us a hard time, you're coming down to the station house."

Steve Mangold:                  01:09:09               Yazoo City, at that time, was totally segregated. And one of my jobs as a young person was to answer the back door, which is where the colored office was. There would be someone who was so wounded, they would have to go to hospital. So, they would have to go to Jackson, which was 50 miles away. People routinely died on the trip to Jackson because there was no hospital in Yazoo City that would take blacks.

Danny Glover:                     01:09:36               Segregation made it difficult even to get to the hospital. White-operated ambulances would not pick up black patients.

H Washington:                    01:09:45               They had to use hearses. Hearses that were not in use were used as ambulances. And many black doctors reflected on the bitter irony of this because as the hearse plied from town to town, like a Flying Dutchman, looking for a hospital someone who would treat this patient, the patient often died in the backseat of the hearse.

H Washington:                    01:10:04               Many people assume the segregation was a phenomenon of the South, but it actually wasn't. It was very extensive throughout the North, as well.

John McKnight:                   01:10:12               Wherever you looked, you could see the reality of segregation, but there were no signs. Most hospitals in Chicago weren't admitting black patients at all. A few did admit some black patients, usually in some segregated part of the hospital, never put in a double-room with a white patient.

Sid Feldman:                        01:10:38               Emergency rooms would not admit black people if their quotas were filled, and therefore they were sent to county hospital with a note "no beds."

H. Washington:                  01:10:48               Even the wealthiest black patient had to go into the charity ward.

Sid Feldman:                        01:10:52               You could have thousand dollar bills coming out of your ears, but if the 10% quota at the University of Chicago was filled, you went to county hospital. It was a mob.

Raylawni Branch:              01:11:05               If you had no money, couldn't pay, you went to the clinic. You sat there all day. Women with children, and babies, and crying, and hot, and all of that.

Sid Feldman:                        01:11:19               People were waiting, and waiting, and waiting. One night, I had 20 admissions, and 4 deaths of people I had not seen.

Danny Glover:                     01:11:27               For three decades, US presidents had tried to expand access to healthcare.

F.D. Roosevelt:                   01:11:33               We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights: the right to adequate medical care, regardless of race or creed.

Joe Califano:                        01:11:41               Roosevelt didn't put healthcare in the Social Security bill because he thought it could never pass. Truman tried to do it ...

Truman:                                   01:11:48               I've repeatedly asked the Congress to pass a health program. The nation suffers from lack of medical care.

Joe Califano:                        01:11:55               ... and was just clobbered by the American Medical Association

Danny Glover:                     01:12:00               The American Medical Association, or the AMA, attacked Truman's healthcare proposal as "socialized medicine." Black doctors, and the NAACP supported it. Truman's proposal failed. Instead, Congress passed the 1946 Hill-Burton Act, which provided for the construction and renovation of hospitals throughout the country.

Mike Meltsner:                   01:12:24               It was a really large financial package that was going to transform the facilities of American hospitals. To get it through the Congress, the legislative process had to deal with the southerners, and they insisted on a separate but equal clause ... would permit segregation in hospital facilities.

David B. Smith:                   01:12:43               What it said was, "go ahead, keep you're segregated hospitals in the South, and the federal government will support you and subsidize the expansion of Jim Crow."

Danny Glover:                     01:12:54               Hill-Burton was the only piece of federal legislation passed in the 20th century that had "separate but equal" written into it.

Jack Geiger:                          01:13:02               Best characterized by Grady hospital: the big, public hospital in Atlanta, with one tower for whites, and another tower for people of color.

J Wenger:                               01:13:12               The hospital was built like an "H." The two front wings, the A and the B wings, were the white wings. The two in the back, the C and the D wings were the colored wings. Everything was duplicated. There were two separate blood banks because it was a criminal offense to cross-transfuse blood.

Danny Glover:                     01:13:35               Segregation also made it difficult for blacks to get training to become doctors and nurses. And once trained, to practice.

J Willis:                                    01:13:43               I came to Grady, segregated. I went through Grady, segregated. If I saw the class of 1964 white, I wouldn't recognize any of them. We didn't take any classes together.

P Parrott:                                01:13:58               We entered on one side of the hospital, and I cannot tell you which door the black students entered, but they didn't enter with us. We were not allowed to go to each other's dormitory. I'm afraid that I really didn't get to know any of the black class. The white students has blue dress.

J Willis:                                    01:14:18               This is the white student, her uniform. What you see is blue and white. And this is the black student.

Danny Glover:                     01:14:27               Southern states were determined to maintain segregation. They barred black students from attending state medical schools, but paid their out-of-state tuition in exchange for returning home to practice. Many northern schools also refused to admit black students.

Dr Chatman:                         01:14:44               I was required to send a picture to Johns Hopkins. I had very good references from significant academic members of the Harvard community, but within the two weeks ... I got a rejection, and my conclusion was: they saw my picture.

Danny Glover:                     01:14:58               But 85% of all black physicians were educated at only two schools: Howard and Meharry. Faculty and students at these schools became the hub of medical civil rights activism. After graduation, it was very difficult for black doctors to get specialized residency training.

Bob Smith:                             01:15:19               Most blacks, if they went into a residency, had to train in an all-black hospital such as Harlem, or Provident in Chicago, Mercy Douglas, Philadelphia.

Danny Glover:                     01:15:30               Black doctors could not get hospital privileges once they finished their training because they were barred from their local medical society. As a result, they could not admit their patients to the hospital, or treat them there. These county medial societies were affiliates of the AMA, which refused to end these discriminatory practices.

Dr Chatman:                         01:15:52               The American Medical Association ain't never been a friend of ours.

A. Blount:                                01:15:55               If you did not belong to county medical society, you were denied admission. That was the first step of stopping you.

Aaron Shirley:                      01:16:04               Some of the young doctors now, that can't believe, "you mean to tell me you couldn't admit your patients to the hospital?" You know? I said, "nah, I couldn't."

Danny Glover:                     01:16:13               Barred from the AMA, and refused admitting privileges, black doctors had to find sympathetic white doctors to admit their patients. Many carried a hospital in their black bags, delivering babies at home, and performing surgery on kitchen tables. They continued to fight these injustices, forming their own medical society: the National Medical Association, or the NMA, to advocate for themselves and their patients.

John McKnight:                   01:16:39               A hospital is the workplace of doctors. Who determines who's gonna be on the medical staff, is the doctors themselves. All the doctors in these hospitals were white. They were admitting white patients. So that if you wanted to charge them with segregation, the doctors would say, "well, we're practicing in this neighborhood. We serve our patients, our patients are white. This is our hospital." That's the essence of what you mean by institutional racism, right? It isn't something that you can pinpoint in terms of an action, its built into the structure.

Danny Glover:                     01:17:23               Having fought for their country in World War II, returning black veterans grew increasingly active in opposing segregation back home.

Medgar Evers:                     01:17:32               For many of us who have gone overseas, fought for this country, fought for Mississippi, we fought for Alabama, we fought for North Carolina, we fought for Illinois, we fought for every state in this union.

Charles Evers:                     01:17:47               In the army, Negroes were in separate barracks. They had separate places to eat. We began to go, you know, "what are we fighting for?" I think it all really begun when we came back and saw how we'd been mistreated. We couldn't register, we couldn't vote. We couldn't serve on any juries because we were Negro, and that was unfair. That's when we got active.

Danny Glover:                     01:18:10               Civil rights activists scored their first major victory against "separate but equal" in 1954. With Brown vs The Board of Education, the Supreme Court ruled that segregated education was unconstitutional. A crack was opening for the end of "separate but equal." Black doctors were on the front lines fighting to desegregate beaches, lunch counters, schools, and hospitals. The National Medical Association joined the fight for integrated healthcare, and leading the charge was Dr. Montague Cobb.

Sylvia Drew Ivie:                01:18:45               He was editor of the National Medical Association Journal. He was very involved in trying to identify, and change, access problems to education, the scholarships for education, privileges at hospitals.

Danny Glover:                     01:19:02               Working with the National Medical Association, Dr. Cobb invited the AMA, and other white medical practitioners, to an annual meeting on hospital integration. The goal was to develop a joint strategy to desegregate the hospitals, but the AMA never sent an official representative. The NMA, joined by Bob Smith and John Hollaman, leaders of the newly-formed Medical Committee for Civil Rights, challenged the AMA at their 1963 national convention.

Bob Smith:                             01:19:34               I accepted the role to go to Atlantic City, and do something that no other physicians had done of record. That was the first time a group a physicians had taken direct action against the AMA, demanding that they come out unequivocally against segregation and discrimination, and the federal government would put some kind of enforcement clause into Hill-Burton hospitals. That was the beginning of some real pressure on AMA.

Danny Glover:                     01:20:03               Less than a week later, Dr. Smith attended civil rights meeting organized by Medgar Evers, NAACP field secretary for Mississippi. When Evers arrived home, he was shot dead in his driveway.

Bob Smith:                             01:20:17               We were, just all, personally devastated, and wanted to do something. So I started to provide medical care to civil rights workers that had been involved in some type of activity, such as this, ever since.

Danny Glover:                     01:20:32               That summer, civil rights movement actions intensified, drawing public attention to the brutal realities of southern segregation. The movement was met with increasing violence, all televised on the nightly news. On August 28th, several hundred members of the Medical Committee for Civil Rights joined more than a quarter-million people in the March on Washington to demand justice. It was the biggest demonstration the country had every seen.

J. F. Kennedy:                       01:21:00               The events of Birmingham, and elsewhere, have so increased the cries for equality, that no city, or state, or legislative body can prudently choose to ignore them.

Danny Glover:                     01:21:13               Hospital desegregation was gaining more visibility, but the breakthrough they had all been fighting for was led by a dentist in North Carolina.

Mike Meltsner:                   01:21:22               One civil rights activist, a dentist named George Simpkins, contacted Legal Defense Fund. It was not the first time. He had been put in jail for trying to integrate a golf course, and he was a local gadfly. He was a courageous man, and he said, "I wanna bring a lawsuit to get staff privileges at the white hospitals in Greensboro."

Danny Glover:                     01:21:47               Dr. George Simpkins was the President of the Greensboro NAACP.

George Simkins:                 01:21:52               A patient came to my office, and he had a temperature of 103, and his jaw was swollen. I said, "this boy needs to be in the hospital." So I called the black hospital, L Richardson Hospital, they just didn't have any beds available. And I called Cone and Wesley Long. They had beds but they would not accept him because of his race.

David B. Smith:                   01:22:13               In the South, almost all of the cases, either against hospitals or schools, were brought by dentists. They were totally independent, and therefore, had a degree a freedom that even the black physicians in these communities did not have.

George Simkins:                 01:22:29               Both hospitals had been built with Hill-Burton funds. We proceeded to attack 'em, at that point, on the grounds that they had been built with Hill-Burton funds.

Danny Glover:                     01:22:38               This was a chance to challenge the constitutionality of the "separate but equal" clause of Hill-Burton. Simpkins, and a group of black doctors, sued the hospitals. They lost in district court. It was a bitter defeat.

George Simkins:                 01:22:53               We lost it in Middle District, then we appealed it to the 4th circuit Court of Appeals.

Mike Meltsner:                   01:22:58               When you challenge the constitutionality of a federal statute, you notify the government.

David B. Smith:                   01:23:04               Robert Kennedy saw that notice, and all kinds of bells and whistles when off for him because, here, he could enter into this decision as a friend, not of the defendants, but of the plaintiffs. That was almost unprecedented, even a surprise from the part of Legal Defense Fund. They hadn't expected to have the weight of the executive branch on their side.

Danny Glover:                     01:23:32               By throwing the full support of the justice department behind the plaintiffs in the Simpkins case, attorney general Robert Kennedy reversed 100 years of federal collaboration with Jim Crow.

R.F. Kennedy:                       01:23:45               Discrimination must stop. Not only because it is legally insupportable, economically wasteful, and socially destructive; but above all, because it is morally wrong.

Danny Glover:                     01:23:56               President Kennedy sent a telegram to Dr. Cobb confirming that he was finally joining the fight to end hospital segregation. On the 1st of November 1963, the appeals court ruled in Simpkins favor. The "separate but equal" provision of Hill-Burton was declared unconstitutional. It was a huge victory, but the only way to enforce it would be to sue every segregated hospital in the country. New legislation was needed. President Kennedy proposed a Civil Rights Act, which using language from the Simpkins decision, forbid discrimination in any entity receiving federal funds.

J.F Kennedy:                         01:24:37               Next week, I shall ask the Congress of the United States to act, to make a commitment it has not fully made in this century, to the proposition that race has no place in American life or law.

Danny Glover:                     01:24:50               The prospect for moving Civil Rights forward looked promising. Less than a month after the Simpkins case was decided, John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Two of president Kennedy's goals were left unfinished: the Civil Rights Act, and the Medical Care for the Aged, or Medicare. As Americans mourned the loss of President Kennedy, the country did not know if their new southern president would pick up the mantle. Without presidential support, civil rights activists feared that progress towards equality, and access to healthcare, would be halted.

L.B. Johnson:                        01:25:36               Let us carry forward the plans and programs of John Fitzgerald Kennedy with the earliest possible passage of the Civil Rights Bill, for which he fought so long.

M.L. King:                                01:25:47               I think one of the great tributes that we can pay in memory of President Kennedy is to try to enact some of the great progressive policies that he sought to initiate.

L.B. Johnson:                        01:25:59               Well, I'm going to support them all and you can count on that, and I'm going to do my best to get other men to do likewise, and I'll have to have you all's help. I never needed it more than I do now.

Xernona Clayton:              01:26:10               Dr. King was able to talk rationally, soundly, sanely, and effectively with President Johnson, and President Johnson understood. And, certainly, he was in concert with Dr. King.

D. K. Goodwin:                    01:26:24               No president, including Lincoln, did more on Civil Rights than LBJ.

L.B. Johnson:                        01:26:29               It is time now to write the next chapter, and to write it in the books of law.

Danny Glover:                     01:26:36               President Johnson and the civil rights movement fought for the passage of the Civil Rights Bill. They faced fierce opposition.

SEN. RUSSELL:                       01:26:43               It is a very drastic bill. If it's enacted into law, it will, in fact, change our system of government.

STROM THURMOND:        01:26:52               It's unnecessary, it's unwise, and unconstitutional.

Peter Libassi:                      01:26:56               Every significant committee, and subcommittee, was chaired by a senator or congressman from the South. They had achieved those seats of power by virtue of seniority. They were elected again and again and again. Congress is, in fact, a bastion of southern senators and congressmen.

SEN. RUSSELL:                       01:27:18               I see no room for compromise in this bill. We're preparing for a battle to the death.

Danny Glover:                     01:27:21               The bill came to the floor of the Senate on March 30th, 1964, and the southern Democrats proceeded to filibuster it for 57 days. President Johnson needed minority leader Everett Dirksen to get Republican support to break the filibuster, and he asked civil rights leaders for help.

L.B. Johnson:                        01:27:40               They say I'm an arm twister, but I can't make a southerner change his spots anymore than I can make a leopard change 'em. If we lose this fight, Roy, we're going back 10 years. You're going to have to persuade Dirksen.

ROY WILKINS:                       01:27:52               I'm going to be on this bill, Mr. President, we know that the work has gotta be done here with us.

L.B. Johnson:                        01:27:56               Who are you gonna take? You gonna take all your Republicans? Give me one of two of 'em.

Sen DIRKSEN:                        01:28:00               Well, you've got enough votes to-

L.B. Johnson:                        01:28:01               No I haven't.

L.B. Johnson:                        01:28:02               Now, you're either for Civil Rights or you're not. You're either the party of Lincoln, or ya ain't.

D. K. Goodwin:                    01:28:07               He understands Dirksen well enough to say ... This is one of my favorite LBJ lines, you know, "Dirksen, you come with me on this bill and 200 years from now school children will know only two names: Abraham Lincoln and Everett Dirksen." He made a priority to have that Civil Rights Bill, that would end segregation in the South, pass. If he had failed in that, his whole presidency would have failed. He would never have been elected in November.

STERLING TUCKER:             01:28:32               I think, in the long run, the real significance of the Civil Rights Act will be found in Title VI, in the use of public funds.

Sylvia Drew Ivie:                01:28:40               Title Vi of the 1964 Civil Rights Act stated that if you were a recipient of federal funds, as a hospital or any entity, you are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of race.

David B. Smith:                   01:28:53               Nobody believed that Title VI was gonna work.

Peter Libassi:                      01:28:57               It was extensive, permanent, established, accepted patterns of discrimination and segregation.

David B. Smith:                   01:29:05               There was no way to enforce it. There was no funding for investigators, there were no fines.

Al Poussaint:                        01:29:15               It was like the Supreme Court decision around desegregating schools, where they said, "with all deliberate speed." Which means what? Go as slow as you want, take your good time doing it. You don't have to do it right away.

Danny Glover:                     01:29:31               While southern senators were filibustering the Civil Rights Act, the civil rights movement continued to mobilize across the country. Fifteen hundred northern volunteers headed down south, joining 60,000 Mississippians to register voters for Freedom Summer. The Medical Committee for Human Rights, as they were now called, recruited healthcare professionals to provide care and document police brutality, and discrimination in healthcare.

P Cunningham:                   01:29:58               When the call came in 1964 for the Mississippi Summer project, I was afraid, but I made the decision to go. And, really, solidified that decision, you know, to die. And that's what we were asked to do, to make a decision to die. And if you couldn't make that decision, go home.

Danny Glover:                     01:30:17               The danger was real, and sometimes deadly.

Reporter 1:                            01:30:20               James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner went to Mississippi to help register Negroes as voters. The three had last been seen heading southeast on highway 19.

M.L. King:                                01:30:31               These young men have probably been killed in the state of Mississippi. They were murdered by a system of racial segregation, which over the years relegated persons to the status of things.

P Cunningham:                   01:30:47               I went to Mississippi, basically, to do voter registration; but I got immediately involved in health activities because it became very apparent that there were really great health problems within the community, and health needs.

Al Poussaint:                        01:31:02               When the MCHR hired me, they gave that as one of my duties, was to help get these hospitals and health facilities desegregated, and look at the health issues, and what we were gonna do about them for this population and this change in social order. So, we made that one of our priorities.

Danny Glover:                     01:31:21               The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, HEW, was not enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.

Al Poussaint:                        01:31:29               Nearly all the hospitals in Mississippi, after the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 was passed, was still segregated. So I call up Washington, and they said, "we haven't received any complaints."

Al Poussaint:                        01:31:41               So I said, "so we have to send in a complaint on every hospital before you will act, or do something?"

Al Poussaint:                        01:31:47               And they said, "that's right." We organized this whole mission to get complaints documenting that these facilities were still segregated and practicing discrimination, and sent hundreds of letters to the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. You needed to complain and raise a ruckus to make the federal government move on these things.

Mike Meltsner:                   01:32:13               These complaints, journalists got ahold of them, and they could point out that a particular hospital had done something egregious, was still considered in compliance, that HEW had not moved to force them to comply with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. The next phase was to try and make sure that the federal government not only accepted nondiscrimination in theory, and in law, but required it in fact.

Danny Glover:                     01:32:43               To respond to the complaints and desegregate the hospitals, HEW faced the impossible task of suing every hospital that failed to comply with Title VI. But, a new law would present a different alternative.

L.B. Johnson:                        01:32:57               A great society rests on abundance, and liberty for all. It demands an end to poverty and racial injustice.

Danny Glover:                     01:33:06               With the 1964 presidential election looming, President Johnson made the passage of Medicare a priority. This new legislation would provide an unsuspected way to enforce civil rights in hospitals.

L.B. Johnson:                        01:33:20               I'm proposing that every person over 65 years of age be spared the darkness of sickness without hope.

David Satcher:                    01:33:31               These two major pieces of legislation, giving healthcare access to the elderly and to the poor, they were opposed by the American Medical Association.

CHARLES HUDSON:            01:33:41               A new system of healthcare financing that is unwanted by many Americans, protested, and in my opinion, unnecessary.

Danny Glover:                     01:33:52               The AMA, who still refused to require local and state societies to admit black physicians, remained unrelenting in their opposition to government-funded health insurance. They had previously rallied against President Kennedy's Healthcare for the Aged proposal.

J.F. Kennedy:                        01:34:09               Medical care for the Aged Bill was defeated in the United States Senate, a program which has been fought by the American Medical Association and successfully defeated.

Danny Glover:                     01:34:20               Now the AMA doubled their efforts to raise a war chest, and hired an actor named Ronald Reagan as their spokesman.

R. REAGAN:                             01:34:28               It’s very easy to disguise a medical program as a humanitarian project. If this program will pass, behind it will come other federal programs that will invade every area of freedom as we have known it in this country.

Danny Glover:                     01:34:41               Dr. Montague Cobb, now president of the National Medical Association, testified in favor of the bill.

David Satcher:                    01:34:47               The National Medical Association supported, the first time a president had ever been to a meeting of the National Medical Association to speak, it was when he came to thank them for their support.

Danny Glover:                     01:34:58               As voters went to the polls, sides were clearly drawn.

Carl Curtis:                            01:35:03               There's a lot of our older people that are perfectly capable of handling their own financing and are doing so.

B. Goldwater:                      01:35:09               Because it does nothing, nothing at all for the older person or any person who becomes ill and can't handle their own bills.

Reporter 2:                            01:35:17               President Johnson wants a program of hospital insurance for older Americans. He is determined to see this program pass in the next Congress. Vote for President Johnson on November 3rd. The stakes are too high for you to stay home.

Danny Glover:                     01:35:30               President Johnson used his overwhelming victory in the 1964 election to ensure that the House Ways and Means Committee support Medicare. No other health insurance bill had ever made it out of this powerful committee.

WILBUR MILLS:                    01:35:44               I think the committee has done this in a way that will make a contribution to improve possibilities of medical care in all areas, and without any socialization of any profession involved.

L.B. Johnson:                        01:36:01               And I am so hopeful that we will finally be successful in this Congress in providing comprehensive hospital and medical insurance for our senior citizens.

Joe Califano:                        01:36:13               The American Medial Association still indicated that they did not think doctors should take part in Medicare.

Reporter 3:                            01:36:20               How much money would you estimate the AMA has spent over the past few years fighting Medicare?

CHARLES HUDSON:            01:36:26               I would have to only guess that it's several million dollars.

Joe Califano:                        01:36:32               So the President invites the AMA to the White House, in the Cabinet Room, puts the President of the AMA to his right. He says, "I have this terrible war in Vietnam. I have the doctors in the military, but I need doctors to help take care of the civilian population. I want you to start a program. Your President and your country really need you. Will you do it?"

Joe Califano:                        01:36:54               And the AMA said, "of course, Mr. President, we will do it. We will do it."

Joe Califano:                        01:36:58               "Call in the press," Johnson says, "right away." Press comes in, LBJ announces the program.

Joe Califano:                        01:37:05               The first question from the reporters is, "will the AMA support Medicare? Will the doctors support Medicare?"

Joe Califano:                        01:37:14               And the President looks surprised at the question, puts his hand  over the arm of the AMA, and he says, "these men are willing to put their lives on the line for this country. Of course, they'll support it. Doctor?"

Joe Califano:                        01:37:26               And the doctor said, "yes, Mr. President, we're with you."

Reporter 4:                            01:37:35               President and Mrs. Johnson, and Vice President Humphrey arrived for ceremonies that will make the Medicare Bill a part of Social Security coverage. The Harry S. Truman library in Independence, Missouri is the scene of an historic event. Mr. Johnson chose to sign the bill here as a tribute to former President Truman.

L.B. Johnson:                        01:37:52               But we wanted you to know, and we wanted the entire world to know, that we haven't forgotten who is the real daddy of Medicare.

Danny Glover:                     01:38:05               The only representative of the medical profession invited to the signing of Medicare was Dr. Montague Cobb. He flew on Air Force One with the President. No representative from the AMA was invited. The President brought in John Gardner to head the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

David B. Smith:                   01:38:27               You had a huge program that was going to involve millions of elderly people, and thousands of facilities, and ten of thousands of physicians, that had to be implemented within a year.

Reporter 5:                            01:38:40               19 million Americans have enrolled so far in the Great Society's Medicare program.

Peter Libassi:                      01:38:47               The revenues of hospitals would be coming as a result of Medicare. How could the federal government begin the Medicare program and give federal funds to already discriminatory hospitals?

Mike Meltsner:                   01:38:59               The federal government was moving very slowly. They talked their ... "We're doing the best we can. We're gonna get things together. We're going to find more investigators."

Mike Meltsner:                   01:39:10               I would say, "well, that's good, and when are you gonna show us something?"

Danny Glover:                     01:39:15               Black doctors were angered by the lack of progress and demanded a meeting with Secretary Gardner.

Peter Libassi:                      01:39:21               The NAACP blast HEW for the inadequate enforcement of health law on Title VI.

DR DAVIS:                                01:39:29               HEW is guilty of a double-cross. They have betrayed us and deceived us. Negroes have been exposed to a new enemy, HEW.

David B. Smith:                   01:39:39               It was a grand piece of political showmanship. The press came. They told them they were gonna miss a golden opportunity if they failed to desegregate the hospitals.

Danny Glover:                     01:39:51               In response, Gardener created the Office of Civil Rights and hired Peter Libassi, turning all of HEW into a civil rights enforcement agency.

John GARDNER:                   01:40:02               This is Pete Libassi, my special assistant for civil rights.

Peter Libassi:                      01:40:07               The wire service went out, and it went out all over the country. Not the most important Federal job in the world, but civil rights was the most important issue in the world. This Office for Civil Rights at HEW, which didn't exist until January of '66, had the talented people that were there. The people who had lived through the civil rights issues, working for the NAACP, working in local communities.

PHIL LEE:                                  01:40:32               Sherry Arnstein, who had been a young staff assistant, had been involved in desegregating a hospital in Virginia said, "for medicare, don't do what you did with education, which was incremental." She said, "you have to do it all or none. They have to be desegregated or you don't get any money."

Peter Libassi:                      01:40:49               That they could, at that point, grasp that you gotta get the civil rights into the administrative process. You can't do it court by court, district by district. Then, if you didn't like the decision denying you federal funds, you had to go to court, and you had to pay for the lawyers, and you had to bring the action against the government, instead of the government always being the one who was suing to desegregate. So, it reversed the roles as to who goes to court.

Mike Meltsner:                   01:41:19               That changed the game. This was a national program of great importance. Suddenly, the healthcare facilities realized that they better get their act together if they wanted to receive funds under Medicare.

David B. Smith:                   01:41:31               What civil rights activists had begun to discover is what we call "the golden rule:" "Those that have the gold, rule."

Danny Glover:                     01:41:42               With only three months left, Gardener and Libassi, faced an impending disaster. Less than half of the hospital beds in the country were desegregated. In the South, few hospitals were desegregated. 

David B. Smith:                   01:41:55               And that really freaked everybody out, and the pressure was really on.

WILLIAMS:                              01:41:59               All that is required is this: 1, admit Negro doctors to staffs in numbers sufficient to make a difference; 2, admit Negro patients on more than a token basis.

PHIL LEE:                                  01:42:11               John Gardner was very strong on using the Civil Rights Act to desegregate Medicare. We had a meeting in John's office, and he made it very clear to us that we were not proceeding quickly enough. There were 7 thousand hospitals. They could clear about 5 thousand of them, 2 thousand hospitals needed to be actually visited.

Danny Glover:                     01:42:32               With just 2 months left before the implementation of Medicare, northern hospitals were integrating. But only 27% of southern hospitals, and only 4% of Mississippi hospitals were desegregated. Secretary Gardner needed a team to inspect the hospitals resisting compliance. He sent out a call to every office in HEW, asking for a staff to work as inspectors. More than 700 people responded, and joined this passionate bureaucratic army. The recruits included laboratory scientist, veterinarians, nurses, pharmacists, and managers of Social Security field offices. Few had any faintly relevant experience.

David B. Smith:                   01:43:15               People had to volunteer to be on the front-edge of what seemed to be an impossible task. They would be putting in hundreds of hours a week. There would be sleepless nights. There would be threats, police departments that tried to harass them. They would deal with Klan members that would chase them. So, the volunteers that they got were not typical civil servants. They were a group of really impassioned activists.

LARRY BRILLIANT:               01:43:46               My generation hated the government. We hated the war in Vietnam. To finally meet a group of people who were working for the federal government and who were part of an office to desegregate ... it made me very proud to have that ID card that said "federal government."

P Cunningham:                   01:44:02               They had the orientation for these investigators at Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia.

Al Poussaint:                        01:44:09               Phyllis Cunningham, Jack Gardner, and I intended to orient the workers with regard to getting these facilities desegregated.

Peter Libassi:                      01:44:17               And they arranged for intensive training of the doctors, and the social security administrative staff, and the civil rights' staff, on what it is it to desegregate a hospital.

JESSE ROTH:                           01:44:26               So when we came in, we were clearly very well informed.

David B. Smith:                   01:44:31               So this was not the AMA. This was not the American Hospital Association telling them how to inspect hospitals. This was a civil rights movement. It had, in fact, basically taken over.

ROGER PLATT:                       01:44:44               Our job is to: inspect hospitals, write down what we saw, make it clear to the administrators what the law required, and then move on.

JESSE ROTH:                           01:44:54               We have field teams in the South working with the hospital administrators to bring them into compliance.

JESSE ROTH:                           01:45:00               We were going down south to desegregate the hospitals. They'd been segregated for a very long time. Its overdue that they change and now is the moment.

JESSE ROTH:                           01:45:08               Our staff has been specifically instructed that they have to call the hospital administrator in advance ...

ROGER PLATT:                       01:45:14               We're here. We'd like to schedule a date when we can come by and talk to you, and inspect the hospital to make sure that you're in compliance with Title IV.

P Cunningham:                   01:45:23               And then, of course, they didn't find what we told them to look for because beds were switched.

inspector:                              01:45:30               We called it the "DHEW shuffle." The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare at that time was a big boss, and they'd shuffle beds around if they knew we were coming.

P Cunningham:                   01:45:41               And there was a lot of switching of charts to show that they had an integrated facility. Signs were taken off doors, or pictures were hung over signs on doors that said "Colored," "White," et cetera. But anyway, there was a lot cover-up.

Danny Glover:                     01:45:57               Federal inspectors contacted black hospital workers, maids, and civil rights activists, to get the information to beat the "HEW Shuffle."

Lilli Perry:                               01:46:04               You would know that blacks were there 'cause they was on the other end of the building behind closed doors.

inspector:                              01:46:15               I worked for the NAACP for Alabama, and from him, I knew what to look for.

P Cunningham:                   01:46:22               African American women who worked as maids in the community picked up everything that was going on in the doctor's homes where they worked. In many instances, it was fired right back.

LARRY BRILLIANT:               01:46:33               I didn't go to a single place where there wasn't a story. A story of discrimination, or deliberate exclusion, differential treatment.

Al Poussaint:                        01:46:43               Some of these white doctors, who were, heading segregated facilities, tried to convince me in a patronizing way that the best healthcare system was one that was segregated.

PHIL LEE:                                  01:46:57               One of the doctors said to me, "if I'm admitted a nigger patient into my white cardiac ward, it would kill the white patient."

ROGER PLATT:                       01:47:04               We had a meeting with the hospital administrator and the medical director, a fellow named Dr. Galloway, who I will never, ever forget. I could see Dr. Galloway's face getting red, and it got red and redder until it was really bright red. And when it really got bright red, he turned to me, I think he particularly resented me as a 22-year-old medical student. He wagged his finger, he said, "boy," he said, "let's get one thing straight." He said, "no nigger-doctor is gonna look up a white woman's ass in this hospital."

Jack Geiger:                          01:47:35               The University of Mississippi Medical Center, Dr. Robert Marston said, "I know it's slow, but I want to tell you as a measure of our good faith, that we have our first integrated ward." And here, indeed, was four-bed, male ward. Two African Americans, a white man, and a Native American. All four of them in their beds, all in the same room, and all four of them unconscious. So, they had achieved their first step in integration with four people in a coma.

Danny Glover:                     01:48:09               The President got weekly updates on how many hospitals were being cleared. With only one month to go, almost 75% of all US hospitals, but less than half southern US hospitals, were in compliance. The July 1st deadline was looming. As inspectors pushed hospitals to meet the deadline, the faced intimation, violence, and death threats.

inspector:                              01:48:33               There were three of four instances to where I had to get out of town in a hurry, and not just Mississippi. I finished a hospital and had just turned it down, but I said, " you called me up here when you know you're not in compliance with the Act, and if I come back again and you're not in compliance with the Act, you won't be in compliance forever. I'll do everything I can to see that you never see another federal nickel." I was leaving town and they shot my windshield out. They missed me, but they got the windshield.

Announcer:                           01:49:06               We have 5511 of the 7654 hospitals are now in compliance.

David B. Smith:                   01:49:15               As time ticked down, nobody was really sure what the hell was gonna happen. The whole Medicare program would blow up, potentially, and either Johnson would lose the Medicare program or he would lose the civil rights legislation that had been what he thought was his legacy.

Danny Glover:                     01:49:36               With only two weeks left before Medicare was to go into effect, 79% of US hospitals were now in compliance with the law, but half of southern hospitals were still segregated.

MASSELL:                                 01:49:48               We have some 100,000 people in Atlanta who are covered by Medicare At least they think they covered, but on July 1st if in fact the hospitals are not in compliance, they'll find they won't have the benefits of Medicare.

David B. Smith:                   01:50:01               Assuming that nothing changed, and it didn't look like anything was gonna change, a large proportion of elderly beneficiaries of the Medicare program might be denied access to hospitals to receive care.

ROGER PLATT:                       01:50:15               We had developed a plan that we could use public health service hospitals, VA hospitals, military hospitals ...

David B. Smith:                   01:50:23               Helicopters were put on alert, so that if a patient was denied admission to a hospital, they could be flown to one of the federal military facilities and receive care.

Danny Glover:                     01:50:35               In a final attempt to bring more hospitals into compliance before the deadline, President Johnson called hospital administrators to the White House.

L.B. Johnson:                        01:50:47               Now, we know there are going to be problems. One of them arises from compliance with the laws of the land, specifically the Civil Rights Act.

ROGER PLATT:                       01:50:57               He said that the government is not going to retreat, and he made it very clear to them that if they did not desegregate, they would not get any money.

Peter Libassi:                      01:51:06               He said, " and I want you to know," and he's pointing his glasses at people, "we ain't gonna lock the barn door after the horse has been stolen. We're gonna desegregate the hospitals." And he put his glasses on and he went on with his talk. They sure remember Lyndon Johnson's direct, clear statement of public policy. So desegregate the hospitals and then you'll come in the program.

David Satcher:                    01:51:33               Overnight, thousands of hospitals desegregated. I mean, they made the desc ion that they weren't gonna run the risk of losing that funding.

reporter 6:                             01:51:42               You had some emergency procedures late-on in case you needed them, have you-

PHIL LEE:                                  01:51:48               We have had these, and an actually we've not had a single call.

ROGER PLATT:                       01:51:51               So, the program was off very, very successfully.

Danny Glover:                     01:51:56               Over 90% of the nation's hospitals, and over 70% of southern hospitals, were cleared by the July 1st deadline. The federal government's commitment paid off. In only three months, they had done something that no one had managed to do before: integrate thousands of hospitals nationwide, and a thousand hospitals in the South.

David B. Smith:                   01:52:18               For all of those people that ended up being the volunteers, it was an amazing period. They really felt that, in the first time in their careers, they were really making a difference.

Sylvia Drew Ivie:                01:52:37               Johnson understood very well that the infusion of federal dollars in Medicare would be the hammer that we needed to integrate the health system. It was an insurance plan for the elderly, but it worked to open the doors to minorities.

LARRY BRILLIANT:               01:52:57               It doesn't mean there's not tremendous systemic racism determining what hospital someone goes to, or where they live, or how they're treated. We shouldn't be naive, but that last step of the dignity and care at hospital that's given to you regardless of your race, or your gender, or your orientation, or any other of these characteristics. That is a human right, that's an American right, and we helped to achieve it by hospital desegregation.

David Satcher:                    01:53:25               It's so critical that we continue on this road of universal access of car, but beyond that, of trying to create the kind of environment where everybody has the opportunity to be healthy. So, the world has changed, and for the better, I think.

Danny Glover:                     01:53:47               While hospital desegregation was a significant advance, it did not erase racial discrimination from our healthcare system. The amazing work and life-saving polices recounted here are not irreversible. Today, far from over, drawing on the strength from those who came before, the struggle continues.


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