The Man Behind Homer G. Phillips Hospital. The story behind Homer G. Phillips and the hospital’s creation is known to some and not at all by others. Surprisingly Homer Gilliams Phillips was not a doctor at all, but an attorney in the St. Louis area. Phillips was born in Sedalia, Missouri in 1880. Raised by his aunt, Phillips eventually attended law school at Howard University. After graduation Homer Philips practiced law in St. Louis and was politically active.
During the early 1900’s there were no hospitals for people of color. In 1919 City Hospital #2 at Garrison and Lawson Avenues was created for blacks. This medical facility however, was inadequate to the needs of St. Louis blacks. In 1922 Phillips was given the task to secure $1 million dollards to build a new hospital for African American’s in North St. Louis. A bond was issued to build a new hospital to replace the St. Louis Barnes Hospital, which was for white residents. Phillips found himself in a battle against the city forcing blacks to use an outdated Deaconess Hospital as a replacement for City Hospital #2. Phillips eventually won the fight. The construction of what would later become Homer G. Phillips began in October 1932 and was completed in 1937.
At one time Homer G. Phillips Hospital was ranked one of the top 10 hospitals in the United States, but still was largely underfunded. During the mid-20th century, St. Louis was home to one of the only hospitals where African-Americans could train as doctors. It also housed a nursing school and training for x-ray techs and medical record – keeping.
Sadly Phillips was shot and killed before construction was finished. Later the City Hospital #2 was named Homer G. Phillips in his honor.