St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital opened in February 1962 due to the efforts of the late actor Danny Thomas. The hospital was the first integrated pediatric hospital in the South, challenging the reality of race relations at the time.
Dr. Rudolph Jackson, the first Black doctor hired to work at St. Jude, was a leader in establishing the hospital’s sickle cell disease treatment program. Thomas motivation to open the hospital was based in his desire to use his success for positive means.
A lifelong Catholic, he made a promise to the patron saint of hopeless causes, St. Jude Thaddeus, that if he were to earn fame and money, he would build a shrine in the saint’s honor. With the help of Dr. Lemuel Diggs, a leading mind in sickle cell research and his friend Anthony Abraham, the hospital pledged to treat all children of all races and backgrounds.
In 1968, Jackson…
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