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Bank of America Stadium site served as one of North Carolina's only Black hospitals during segregation



CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Every year tens of thousands of people walk the sidewalk along South Mint Street to visit Bank of America stadium but what many people don’t know, or notice is the history that lies beneath and just outside the stadium; a historical marker recognizing Good Samaritan Hospital which was once one of the only Black hospitals in North Carolina.

“This marker is very, very, very important memorabilia for me,” said 84-year-old Lillian Herron.

Herron was a nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital during the 1960s when everything was segregated.

“I got my first job, June the 1st, 1961,” said Herron. “I was taken under the wings of the nursing staff, all of the doctors. I learned more than I could ever imagine.”

The privately owned Black hospital opened on September 23, 1891, and while things were separate, they certainly weren’t equal.

“The only thing that was really, really sort of disgusting to me, our Black doctors were not up to par as well as they could’ve been,” Herron said.

Unlike other white hospitals in the area, Good Samaritan lacked basic diagnostic tools and doctors only had access to or knowledge of certain medicines to treat patients.

“I submitted a prescription one day for a drug for a medical patient,” said Herron, “and the pharmacist on the P.A. system called me out ‘Mrs. Herron this prescription that you sent. We have not stocked this medication in 22 years.’”

“Good Sam” was where Bank of America Stadium now stands.

“Options were very limited; she could only come to Good Samaritan Hospital,” said Mecklenburg County Commissioner Arthur Griffin, who was born at Good Samaritan.

“I want people to understand that this history, Good Samaritan’s history, is their history,” said Commissioner Griffin. “The Panthers stadium would never be here if this ground didn’t exist.”

In 1961, Good Samaritan Hospital was sold for $1.00 and became the Charlotte Community Hospital, an integrated hospital affiliated with Charlotte Memorial.

“They were actually saving lives every day here at Good Samaritan Hospital under sometimes adverse conditions,” said Griffin.

Despite integration, hospital conditions were rooted in racism and some white patients did not want to be treated by Black nurses.

Herron recalls a time she received a white male patient in serious condition, “He hated the “n” word, he hated us so bad until he never accepted his condition and on his way out he cursed me for hours until he took his last, very last breath.”

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Mecklenburg County Commissioner Arthur Griffin.

While the building was demolished in 1996 to make way for Bank of America Stadium, Good Samaritan’s legacy lives on through men and women like Herron and Griffin.

“The grit, the ingenuity, the intelligence, the ability to put things together and to still provide excellent, high-quality health care in a segregated environment,” said Griffin, “I’m just forever indebted to that professional core of nurses that really did a lot more, I guess, than you would think nurses would do.”

Nurses like Herron, who even at the age of 84 years old, said, “I am still today working on trying to make our community a better place, a healthier place, and a loving and caring place for all human beings.”

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