Friday, July 11, 2008

Orlando's AMA apologizes for Racist Past


This apology might come a bit too late for Dr. Alfred L. Bookhardt. The 79 year old doctor began his career as a physician in the 1960s, when blacks were barred from practicing at Orlando hospitals or joining the American Medical Association.

The association Thursday apologized on its Web site for "its past history of racial inequality toward African-American physicians, and shares its current efforts to increase the ranks of minority physicians and their participation in the AMA."

James R. Smith opened the first maternity hospital for black women in the early 1950s so their babies could be born with dignity and in sanitary conditions, Thompson said.

Blacks who underwent surgery in Orlando hospitals were sent to private homes to recover until 1959, when the Dr. P. Phillips Hospital for Coloreds was opened. Bookhardt joined the hospital in the mid-1960s.


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