General Hospital Detroit, Michigan (1917-1976)
Drs. David and Daisy Northcross
73 Russell St (20 beds)
688 Winder (34 beds)
2929 W. Boston Boulevard (50 beds)
After fleeing the Klu Klux Klan in Montgomery, Alabama, Drs. David and Daisy
Northcross settled in Detroit, MI, intent on rebuilding their medical practice and
providing medical care for Detroit's African American community. Initially, they met
with other physicians who formed the Allied Medical Society, precursor to the Detroit
Medical Society, hoping to become a part of the Society's endeavor to open a hospital
facility for African Americans.
The Northcrosses, having operated a hospital in the South, brought much
administrative knowledge to the table, and they finally chose to strike out on their own
and succeeded in opening Detroit's first African American hospital in 1917.
Opened mostly because the doctors needed a place to care for patients who were
too sick to return home, the hospital located at 73 Russell St. eventually contained 20
beds. Because of demand for care, the hospital soon outgrew this limited space and
relocated to 688 Winder St. This property was finally demolished in order to make
way for the construction of the I-75 expressway.
There were pressures to close the hospital at this point, but the Northcrosses
took the $400,000 they made selling the Winder property and built a new 50 bed facility at
2929 W. Boston. Pressure from Blue Cross forced the hospital to convert to a
methadone clinic, and then an abortion clinic. Before a final conversion to a mental
health facility, it was firebombed, ending the life of Mercy General Hospital.
Dunbar Memorial Hospital
Detroit, Michigan (1918-1926)
A group of physicians including Dr. J.W. Ames; Dr. Albert Johnson; Dr. George
Bundy; Dr. R. Beck; Dr. Alfred E. Thomas, Sr.; Dr. Alexander Turner.
580 Frederick St. (27 beds)
Dunbar Hospital was the result of planning by a bi-racial committee intent on
establishing a non-profit institution that could serve the African American population of
addition to 27 beds, the facility included an operating room. In 1924, shortly
before moving and becoming Parkside Hospital, the facility was expanded to 40 beds.
crucial roles in the newly opened facility in 1918 were Drs. James Ames and Alexander
Turner, the Medical Director and Chief of Surgery, respectively. Dr. George Bundy is
believed to have performed deliveries at Woman's Hospital, even though he was denied
admitting privileges there.
Detroit, Michigan (1928-1962)
Dr. Robert Greenidge; Dr. DeWitt T. Burton; Dr. Henry Owen; Dr. Canute Constable; Dr.
Julius Graham; Dr. W.A. Thompson; Dr. Alexander Turner; Dr. Alfred Thomas, Sr.
Brush and Illinois (54 beds)
In an attempt to compete with majority hospitals and to change the perception of
health care in the African American community, Dunbar Hospital relocated across from
Harper Hospital and changed its name to Parkside.
Spearheading the activity was Dr. Robert Greenidge. Following an incident
where Dr. Greenidge experienced racism first-hand at the Florence Crittenton Home (a
maternity facility), Greenidge felt it necessary to help the African American community
organize itself and capitalize upon its strengths.
Parkside was intent on establishing itself as a respected provider of health
care services. However, the only patients ever sent there from Harper Hospital were
those considered to be terminal.
With a reputation as "the place to go when you die," the hospital
finally succumbed to pressures to vacate. The hospital was torn down in 1962 to make
room for the expansion of Detroit Receiving Hospital and the general development of the
Detroit Medical Center.
October 29, 1997
The University of Michigan Historical Center for the Health
Sciences (HCHS) and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation sponsored the first conference on the
African American Health Care Experience.
The conference was held at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor
and was comprised of a series of talks, including a presentation of the results from the
first phase of the Kellogg Project, and panel discussions on the historical context and
policy implications of the managed care system.
The conference also hosted a pre-planning session for the upcoming
National Conference to be held in the City of Detroit in the Winter of 1999.
Dr. Charles Wright; Ms. Dorothy Mottley, RN; Ms. Fanny Starks, RN; Ron
Amos; Linda Strodtman, UM Professor of Nursing; and Dr. Lionel Swan (left to right).
Health Care Experiences Conference, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor: 29 October 1997.
Kellogg Project Update
The Project has moved to a new location. Our new address is: 300 North Ingalls
Building, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109-0489. The second phase of
interviewing will begin this winter and will focus on interviewing additional physicians,
administrators, nurses, others from various health professions and ethnic backgrounds,
non-traditional health care providers (folkhealers, spiritualists, ministers, etc.),
patients, and others who contributed to African American health care during the 1940s-60s.
The Archive is a quarterly newsletter to be produced to feature the history of
several Black-owned and operated hospitals in the Detroit Metropolitan area during this
century, along with providing project updates, and other relevant information on issues
affecting the health care of African Americans. We welcome your comments and suggestions.
Please feel free to mail them to:
George Myers, Project Coordinator
University of Michigan Medical School
300 North Ingalls Building, Room 3D019
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48105
Norman L. Foster, M.D., Associate Professor, University of Michigan Medical School
Harold W. Neighbors, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Michigan School of
Vence Bonham, J.D., Assistant Professor,
Detroit College of Law; Michigan State University
Joel Howell, M.D., Ph.D., Professor,
University of Michigan Medical School
Martin Pernick, Ph.D., Professor, History Dept., University of Michigan
Richard Candida Smith, Ph.D., Associate Professor, History Dept.,
University of Michigan
Nicholas Steneck, Ph.D., Professor, History Dept., University of Michigan
Brian Williams, M.L.S., Associate Archivist,
Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan
Kellogg Project Team