Christmas Eve, A Day of Remembrance

By: Angela Salerno Email
By: Angela Salerno Email

It was a hospital that began due to segregation and shut down as a result of integration.

Edwina Stephens looks at pictures from 35 years ago when she was a nurse at Florida A and M's Hospital.

That bright smile faded when she found out she would be loosing her job.

"Here it is Christmas and people loosing the place that they had worked at for so many years so like myself", said Edwina Stephens, nurse at FAMU Hospital.

The hospital opened in 1950 and served almost 100 thousand black residents in the Big Bend Area.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 required all public facilities to be available to all citizens no matter their race, this law is what caused the hospital to shutdown.

Alex Brickler was a doctor at the hospital and says, "When the hospitals began to integrate, Tallahassee Memorial began to accept patients regardless of color".

This meant less patients and very little money for FAMU's hospital.

"We weren't really able to under the circumstances offer our patients the kind of care we wanted", said Brickler.

The doors closed Christmas Eve 1971.

It's now home to the universities Foote Hilyer Administrative Center. Hundreds of people walk the halls of the old hospital not knowing it's history.

"It was so much that happened with it closing, that people just try and forget about it and let the past be the past", said Kenycia Byrd, recent grad from FAMU.

Stephens says the closing was a big blow to the community, but she hopes the past will not be forgotten.

Many of the employees at the hospital were offered transfers, but some of the staff members say it was hard to walk away from what they called home.


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