Paul McKee, a wealthy white real estate developer who has swallowed up huge chunks of Saint Louis’s New Afrikan community, continues his war on this proud and resilient people, this time insulting the memory of one of its most cherished institutions. Homer G. Phillips Hospital, located at 2601 North Whittier Street in the Ville, closed in 1979, another victim of neoliberalism. Before its closing, it was a point of pride for the New Afrikan people of Saint Louis, being the hospital responsible for the training of more Black doctors and nurses than any other in the world. Homer G. Phillips was a New Afrikan attorney who led the struggle for the construction of a hospital for New Afrikans up until his murder in 1931, shortly after his efforts and those of others following his leadership secured a bond issue for the construction of the hospital, which opened in 1937. For the New Afrikan people of Saint Louis, the hospital was seen as theirs, the fruit of long years of struggle against a racist city government that was well content to allow segregated, backdoor and basement accommodations at City Hospital. Instead, the people struggled and claimed their own hospital, in their own community. That is the legacy of the original Homer G. Phillips Hospital, which was maintained long after formal segregation in the City of Saint Louis had ended.
McKee spits on this legacy by naming a trifling, three bed facility across the street from the imperialist NGA facility after this hospital. This has aroused the ire of Black Saint Louis, who remember the real institution and correctly recognize this as a skinny bone thrown to the masses by a man who is responsible for the displacement of thousands and the depletion of the city’s housing stock for his own profit. McKee and his company, Northside Regeneration, which can more accurately be called Northside Degeneration, have essentially stolen hundreds of houses from the toiling people of the Northside, most notably conspiring to bring the imperialist National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency down upon the masses with a huge facility currently under construction. McKee still owns 200 acres around this facility, or 1,600 properties. McKee promised development of properties to house the people, meanwhile, his properties crumble and rot, destroying the property of elders who worked to purchase and maintain their homes and which have served as family homes for generations. This legacy of sacrifice and struggle means nothing to McKee. He also attracted the ire of other bourgeois within the city government by inflating his property values to swindle the state out of several tens of millions of dollars in tax credits. Properties which could be serving the people as collective housing, community owned cooperatives, and other things for their well being instead sit in the hands of this settler who has no roots nor stake in the community. Now, he demonstrates his typical settler hatred of the masses by insulting the memory of one of Black STL’s strongest and most beloved historical figures by naming a three bed facility across the street from a growing imperialist monster after him, trafficking in the people’s history of struggle for his own ends.
The people have not sat idle while this happens, they have been attending meetings and demanding this facility wear a different name. McKee, typically, has been unresponsive in person, refusing to meet the people face to face and instead issuing a statement full of lies and arrogance, claiming that he plans to expand the hospital to 100 beds and, while respecting the people and their history, says “We have no intentions to re-examine the naming of this hospital.” He behaves like an old slavemaster, and North Saint Louis is his plantation, where the Black people who have bled to make this area their own over 100 years must accept his trifling handouts while he does his best to make conditions suitable for gentrification. Only with the development of revolutionary, militant mass organizations to defend the people’s interests can McKee be made to answer for his long list of crimes against the people.