David C. Northcross, Jr.
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David C. Northcross Jr.


Mercy General Hospital


David C. Northcross, Jr.

Dr. David C. Northcross, Jr. was born on January 29, 1917 to Drs. David and Daisy Northcross, in Montgomery, Alabama. The Drs. Northcross had migrated to Detroit in 1916 in order to escape the persecution of the Ku Klux Klan.

After being here only a year, they opened the first Black-owned and operated proprietary hospital in Detroit, Mercy General Hospital. Having grown up in such an environment, there was never a question that David Northcross, Jr. would become a doctor and help run the hospital founded by his parents.

After completing three years of his undergraduate education at the University of Detroit, Dr. Northcross, Jr. went to Nashville, Tennessee to attend Meharry Medical College and took additional course work at Fisk University. Following graduation from Meharry in 1944, he entered an internship at Homer G. Phillips Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. Following his internship, Dr. Northcross, Jr. completed a year of residency at John Andrews Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama.

Although he was in the Medical Corps of the Army Specialized Training Corps while a medical student during World War II, with the outbreak of the Korean War, Dr. Northcross, Jr. was called to serve again. He was stationed at Fort Reilly, Kansas in 1953. When the Army invited him to remain for a career in the service, Dr. Northcross, Jr. chose to return to Detroit in 1955 to run Mercy General with his wife, Ophelia Northcross, R.N., and his mother, Dr. Daisy Northcross.

In 1956, Dr. Northcross, Jr. attended the University of Pennsylvania Medical School for a year of graduate work in surgery. Upon his return to Detroit, he dedicated himself to the administration of Mercy General, as his mother's health was beginning to decline. Dr. Northcross, Jr. oversaw the relocation of Mercy General Hospital from the site on Winder Street to a brand new 50 bed facility at 2929 West Boston, which was prompted by the construction of the I-75 expressway.Eventually, the hospital was converted a few times to ancillary health clinics and closed in 1976.

Dr. Northcross, Jr. was, during his practicing years, an active member of the Detroit Medical Society and the National Medical Association. He is a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity and has always been involved with the YMCA, as well as with his church.

Currently, Dr. Northcross, Jr. is retired from practicing medicine and spends his time with his daughters and other relatives in Detroit and Atlanta.

Tape recorded interview;
Detroit, MI
18 November  1997
audio clip

Excerpt: Discusses his parent's hospital, Mercy General

I: What can you tell us, as far as what you remember, about your parents' hospital? Because it was Mercy General, right?

R: Yes. They would get patients from Detroit General a lot. They would transfer them to, like Mercy and [to Dr.] Frank Raiford, [Jr.]-he was over on Vernor Highway [at Trinity Hospital], you know. And then the black doctors would come by and write orders and examine their patients and everything. And the white doctors-mama had a couple of white doctors who would come and see the patients. And then some people off the street would come. And some of the doctors, I can't remember exactly who, would bring patients.

I: Were any white patients ever in the hospital?

R: Yes, for transfer from Detroit General [Hospital] when they got over crowded. Yes, there were whites [there]. There were a lot of whites in Detroit back then, in the [19]30s, [19]40s and [19]50s. Whites just started moving in the [19]50s when they started Southfield, see.

I: So, prior to your coming back, that is, while you were growing up in Detroit, do you remember how many beds the hospital had at Mercy [General]?

R: 35, I think. And then, when I came back in the [19]50s, I built a new addition to it. I moved the office. It had a big glass front, you know. It was really sharp. Everybody was driving by and looking at it. And I think I added about 25 beds upstairs.


William G. Anderson
Reginald P. Ayala
Arthur W Boddie
Wilma Brakefield-Caldwell
Henry C. Bryant Jr.
Alice Burton
Waldo L. Cain
James W. Collins
Claude and Vivienne Cooper
Gladys B. Dillard
George Gaines Jr.
Leon Gant
Herman J. Glass Sr.
Della Goodwin
Joseph B. Harris
Frank P. Iacobell
Horace L. Jefferson
Sidney B. Jenkins
Arthur Johnson
Rachel B. Keith
William E. Lawson
Josephine Love
Hayward Maben Jr.
Berna C. Mason
Suesetta T. McCree
Dorothy Mottley
David C. Northcross Jr.
Ophelia B. Northcross
Marjorie Peebles-Meyers
Frank P. Raiford III
Garther Roberson Jr.
S. L. Roberson
Elsie Smith
Fannie L. Starks
Lionel F. Swan
Natalia M. Tanner
Oretta Mae Todd
I. Clara Webb
Charles F. Whitten
Charles H. Wright
Watson Young


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Copyright , Kellogg African American Health Care Project, 2000.
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