Segregation at St. John’s Hospital

St. John’s Hospital

St. John’s Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, an Episcopal institution of the Diocese of Long Island, was the focus of action by the Long Island chapter of ESCRU in 1962. After receiving complaints that the hospital excluded black patients from private rooms and segregated the races in semi-private ones, ESCRU alerted Bishop James P. DeWolfe of the Diocese of Long Island who was president of the hospital’s board of managers. Bishop DeWolfe appointed a special commission to investigate the charges, which found that “some segregation results” from the hospital’s policies. The bishop defended the hospital’s policies, however, arguing for a “principle of consent,” which would allow members of the same race to be housed in the same rooms. Sponsoring institutional racism and individual bigotry under the guise of protecting personal conscience was an unacceptable retreat from the marginal progress African Americans had made in turning the Church toward a path of justice.[Sources]