Forgotten blueprints of segregated hospitals in Georgia brought to light

ATLANTA — On the campus of Kennesaw State University, a disturbing era of Georgia history is now in plain view.

“There were separate waiting rooms. Separate pharmacies. Entrances. Everything,” Helen Thomas said.

Thomas oversees the university archives.

Along with the Digital Library of Georgia at the University of Georgia, she has gone online with the blueprints of hospitals built in the state during the 1940′s and 50′s.

Many of them were segregated hospitals.

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“They did what they had to do. They suffered indignities throughout their lifetimes,” historian Sam Mahone said.

Mahone has interviewed African American nurses who worked in such facilities.

The architectural drawings make clear where Black patients were treated and where white patients received care. Likewise for the segregated medical staff.

“It’s history. For the most part, there are a lot of untold stories we need to hear,” Mahone said.

“I do think it’s important to understand the disparities in medical and mental health care available to people at the time. Separate was not equal,” Thomas said.