General Hospital School of Nursing, Integrated (Louisville, KY)In January 1954, the registered nurses training program at the General Hospital School of Nursing in Louisville, KY, was integrated. The last issue to be resolved was housing; the incoming Negro students had been encouraged to live at home rather than move into the student nurses home. The integration had come about with the election of Mayor Andrew Broaddus (1900-1972), a Democrat, who was mayor from 1953-1957. Broaddus had pledged to integrate the program if he were elected mayor.
Louisville General Hospital was the teaching and research hospital for the University of Louisville Medical School. Dr. Maurice F. Rabb, Sr. had been added to the hospital staff in 1948 as a part-time resident for advanced work in anesthesiology; Rabb had been practicing medicine in Kentucky for 15 years. He was not allowed to eat in the cafeteria of General Hospital.
In 1950, the first Negro student had been accepted into a practical-nurses training class. But prior to 1954, Negro applicants to the registered nursing program had been encouraged to go elsewhere. Once it was mandated the school accept Negro students for this program, the City-County Board of Health declared that Negro students could live in the student nurses home as well. The first three students were Lillian Delores Foxhill, who would be living at home; Latach Mae Scott, who would also be living at home; and Flora M. Ponder, who would be living in the nurses home.
For more information see "Louisville policy unsettled on race," New York Times, 02/04/1949, p. 26; "City Hospital will train Negro nurses," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 12/10/1953; "3 Negro student nurses begin school at General," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 02/06/1954; and the Louisville General Hospital Records, which are available at the University of Louisville Libraries Special Collections and Archives.