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Emory University medical school officially apologizes after rejecting candidate for race

Emory University School of Medicine has officially apologized to Hood, inviting him to speak Thursday at the University of Atlanta, Ga., In an event held on June 10.

“As a university, recognizing our past is a necessary step towards an empowered future,” said Carolyn Meltzer, executive associate dean of the Faculty of Medicine for Academic Advancement, Leadership and Inclusion, in a statement. “Our conversations with Dr. Hood reinforced the School of Medicine’s commitment to accountability, in line with the university’s strategic goals for a more inclusive Emory.”
During the talk, Hood spoke about his journey into medicine, including how he became interested in the subject and why he applied to Emory in the first place. The school was initially not on his radar, he said, but he applied when a professor from Emory received an honorary degree during Hood’s graduation ceremony at Clark College.

“And when they gave him the honorary degree, I was like, ‘My God, he can come here to my school and get an honorary degree, and I can’t even set foot on his campus,'” said Hood. “And I didn’t think it was quite right.”

So in 1959 Hood applied to Emory Medical School. The rejection took less than a week, he said.

“I’m sorry to have to write to you that we are not allowed to consider a member of the black race for admission,” wrote LL Clegg, the school’s director of admissions at the time, according to the school.

Emory returned her admission fee of $ 5. “I don’t even know if they looked at my credentials,” Hood said.

That didn’t stop him, however. Hood eventually went to Loyola University School of Medicine in Chicago, majoring in gynecology and obstetrics.

“Life is full of obstacles,” Hood said at the event. “But what I thought was if there is an obstacle there, there must be a way to get around it or overcome it.”

Emory did not desegregate until 1962, when the Georgia Supreme Court sided with the university in challenging state laws that denied tax-exempt status to racially integrated schools. Emory admitted his first black medical student, Hamilton E. Holmes, the following year, the school said.

Before studying at Emory, Holmes and Charlayne Hunter-Gault were the black students who entered the University of Georgia in 1961.
Before integration, Emory had already admitted students of other races, enrolling Asian students as early as the 1890s, according to the university historian. The founders of the college were largely followers of slavery, and the school is named after John Emory, a bishop of Maryland who owned slaves.

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