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 Homer G. Phillips

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Homer G. Phillips

  • Birth 1 Apr 1880 Sedalia, Pettis County, Missouri, USA
  • Death 18 Jun 1931 St. Louis City, Missouri, USA
  • Burial Normandy, St. Louis County, Missouri, USA
  • Memorial ID 5606

Attorney, Civic Leader. Homer Gilliam Phillips, a descendant of slaves, attended Howard Law School in Washington D.C. During this time, he boarded in the home of black poet Paul Lawrence Dunbar. In 1904, Phillips moved to St. Louis where he married and opened a law practice. Philips became active in local politics. Among his many accomplishments, Phillips helped organize the National Bar Association and later served as its third president. But Philips' greatest dream is said to be the establishment of a major health-care facility for blacks in St. Louis. Philips was among the many black taxpayers angry with city government because their tax dollars went to support hospitals where only white medical workers could be trained. Further, the segregated black hospital was overcrowded and outdated. Its name, City Hospital #2, was said by black doctors to indicate the inferiority of its status. In 1922, Phillips supported an $87 million bond issue. His primary focus was to secure $1 million of this bond issue to construct a new hospital for blacks in North St. Louis. He spoke before the St. Louis Board of Aldermen and gained support for legislation to create a new, fully funded black hospital. Despite strong opposition from white city leaders, the Board ultimately authorized including in the bond issue funds to build a new City Hospital in north St. Louis. Though financing was approved, construction was not to begin for another ten years. When finally completed in 1937, it was named for its most prominent supporter—Homer G. Phillips. The hospital attracted many of the top black medical professionals of the time and developed into one of the nation's leading African-American hospitals. Its staff was dedicated to both the hospital and the advancement of medical science. Unfortunately, Homer G. Philips would not live to see the construction of the facility that bears his name. In 1931, while on his way to work at his law office, Philips was assaulted while waiting for a streetcar. Two men approached Philips, spoke to him briefly, then shot him. Two men were indicted, but an all-white jury returned a verdict of not guilty. His murder has never been solved. The late Judge Nathan Young once described Phillips as "an indomitable figure, a stalwart Republican, an inspiring speaker and a social reformer who stood down the virulent racism spreading through the city and the nation. He was an inspiration to his people."

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 7 Jun 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 5606
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Homer G. Phillips (1 Apr 1880–18 Jun 1931), Find A Grave Memorial no. 5606, citing Saint Peter's Cemetery, Normandy, St. Louis County, Missouri, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .