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August 22, 2003

End of an Era at King/Drew

I note what looks to be the passing into the great beyond of the medical training at King/Drew Medical Center in the Compton - Lynwood area. Pops used to work for the County's Health Department and as a Special Assistant to the Director, he helped many many blackfolks get work in the system back in the days when civil service jobs were just opening up to non-whites.

One of the things he played a role in that I was most proud of as a youngster was the opening of the Martin Luther King Jr, Hospital and the King/Drew Medical School. I can remember when there was little out there but the trailers that he worked in. My signature is in the cornerstone of the building.

More recently I learned that an old highschool chum was part of the black thorasic surgery club of Southern California. It's not a club per se, but one of the nation's top throat surgeons is a black man who has mentored a number of younger blacks here. I had the opportunity to meet some members of his 'club' back when I was dating a woman who made medical videos for a living, somewhere around 1988. Anyway, when I asked this chum about issues at MLK (also known in the 'hood as 'Killer King'), he was fairly close-mouthed about it. This was at my 20 year reunion, five years ago.

Since then, I'd bet he was among those who have fled the institution leaving it in the poor state it finds itself in today. Life is hard.

Posted by mbowen at August 22, 2003 11:28 PM

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