Now that we have hope for the future of Mound Bayou’s Taborian Hospital, maybe we can renew some energy for Yazoo City’s earlier Afro American Sons and Daughters Hospital, long abandoned and disappearing beneath ravenous vines.
Mississippi’s first hospital for black patients, the Afro American Sons and Daughters Hospital was listed on the National Register in January 2006 and you can click here to view the full nomination. The MDAH Historic Resources has an evocative torn-up historic photo that shows the building in its heyday.
Closed in 1972, the building had been long abandoned when it was placed on the Mississippi Heritage Trust’s 2007 10 Most Endangered Places list:
Built during the era of Mississippi’s rigid racial segregation, the Afro-American Sons and Daughter’s Hospital (AASDH) in Yazoo City served as the state’s first hospital for African Americans. When health care was not accessible to most black residents in Mississippi, the AASDH provided free health care to anyone. The hospital also trained future nurses, enabling them to receive their state licenses and serve other parts of the state. Founded in 1928, the hospital boasted full-service operating and surgical rooms, plus a delivery room and nursery until it closed in 1972. The hospital campus included a residence for its nurses that still stands, but has gone through alterations. Many African American doctors and nurses have been associated with the AASDH, but the most prominent was Dr. Lloyd T. Miller who served as its chief surgeon for many years.
MHT updated its entry in 2009, and even the thin thread of hope that runs through this update seems to have unravelled completely since then:
2009 Update – In Progress
The building is continuing to suffer from roof leaks and vandalism. The Afro-American Sons and Daughters Foundation has made plans for several fund raisers in 2009 and hopes the building will house the Yazoo City Headstart program, a Black History Museum, a Black Doctors and Black Women in Healthcare Hall of Fame, and host community events. The foundation has worked hard to obtain donations and grants to help with restoring the building but it is far from reaching its estimated $1.6 million goal.
When I first saw this building back probably in 2002 or so, it was locked up tight and the grass cut around it. Now, doors stand ripped off and who knows what is going on more than the collapse of one of the back additions?
According to this website, which I’m not sure reflects recent information, the Afro-American Sons and Daughters Foundation has $26,689 in assets. Which is indeed a far cry from $1.6 million. However, as with Rust College and the Mississippi Industrial College campus, I wish they would use their assets to do what they can in the meantime to at least keep the building from collapse. Have a volunteer cleanup day, get people interested! I know that the Espy family has an interest in this historic site, but I wish the Foundation would put on more of a public campaign for this building. MHT could be more pro-active too since this has been on their endangered list for 5 years. I know that times are hard, but historic preservation has always been about overcoming difficult times and bringing hard-case buildings back from the brink. I’m happy that our second-oldest African American hospital may be getting brought back to life, but let’s use that energy to bring back the oldest too.
For pictures of the building without so much vine coverage and other thoughts, see Urban Decay’s 2010 post: Afro-American Sons and Daughters Hospital.