Louisville doctor working to preserve Red Cross Hospital - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Louisville doctor working to preserve Red Cross Hospital

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Louisville doctor wants to preserve the days when separate was equal.

"You know, integration is a good thing, but there's also a bad side to it too," said Colorectal Surgeon Wayne Tuckson, "Too many institutions in the African-American community are forgotten."

Tuckson wants to make sure history doesn't forget the institution known as the Red Cross Hospital. The building still stands where Shelby and Lydia streets meet in Louisville.

It's not the non-profit we now know for blood drives and disaster relief. In 1899 a group of black Louisville doctors founded the Red Cross Hospital as African-Americans were dying for lack of treatment.

"The Red Cross Hospital represents a time where we as African-Americans had a need, and came together and met that need, and we did it in a high standard," said Tuckson. "This was the era of Jim Crow (laws) where African-Americans were denied access to white hospitals."

The hospital's legacy grew out of an small house downtown and expanded to the facility on Shelby Street, adding a dentistry program and Kentucky's only nursing school for blacks. Tuckson is trying to track down its former patients, doctors, nurses and staff members.

It's a personal call for Louisville Metro Councilwoman Cheri Bryant-Hamilton.

"I was born at the Red Cross hospital in 1950," she explained.

Her father also practiced at the hospital.

"It gives you a since of pride that we were able to overcome such obstacles," she said.

Red Cross Hospital closed in 1975 and is now being used as a homeless men's shelter for the Volunteers of America.

Tuckson, working the African-American Health Initiatives group, hopes to release the documentary in February 2017, but more help is needed. He's hosting a public meeting Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016 at the Old Walnut Street Development Center off 13th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard from 11:30 a.m. -1:30 p.m. Anyone with records, stories, or photos from the old Red Cross Hospital is invited to attend.

Councilwoman Bryant-Hamilton said she's already been in contact with 20 people. "We're finding birth certificates and photographs."

Tuckson hopes to find more living storytellers before they're gone away,

"If we don't remember these things I think we lose the essence of ourselves," he said.

Copyright 2016 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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