Listening to Yoruba Richen talk to Terry Gross on Fresh Air today, I learned that The Green Book for African-American motorists also served to provide local information on health care access for those excluded by the race. I can only imagine that it was useful for African-American cross country travelers to know that Kansas City's Wheatley-Provident Hospital (1916-1972) was open to them. Wheatley-Provident was a symbol of African-American accomplishment and of Kansas City's sorry history of health care segregation, with its African-American professional staff at all levels. As this building is about to be reincarnated into office space, I hope Kansas City finds room to tell its story and embed its meaning in the city's narrative.
Not that de-segregation of health care was uncomplicated. Barbara Berney's documentary Power to Heal tells the story of how the federal government used Medicare dollars to end the practice of racially segregating patients, doctors, medical staffs, blood supplies, and linens.