Interview with Toni Johnson-Chavis

I'd like to get some kind of, um, concluding statement. So I'm thinking of putting you in the position of having finished medical school, the decision, the supreme court decision came out, and I'm wondering how you felt personally, um, at this decision which in some sense--


In June of 1978, the Supreme Court basically admitted Bakke to medical school. You're on your way to being a physician. How did you feel about this?


In terms of with regards to Bakke, the decision that the Supreme Court had made in order to, to allow him to go to medical school, there was no personal feelings to Bakke at all. I was really somewhat angry of that decision in terms of that it was an affront to minority students coming into a program who very much deserved to be in a program, that it was supporting basically a reverse discrimination stance. It was always my feeling that there were only slight inroads and gains that we had made post-Martin Luther King era. Um, that I had been very fortunate, ah, to be a part of that era but that we really were s- were fulfilling the society need. But I could tell that it was really not in the hearts of, of White America, that it was really just an appeasement for a short time. And in fact, um, that the Bakke was just beginning to open up the channels of just the resumption of all the other racial things that were all, that was already going on. Um, that it was going to be devastating and that, that that decision was going to have a real effect on the admittance of minority students, particularly Black students later on in, in the future. So I was appalled really at that decision and what it was mean, what it would mean in the future. Now, ten years later, sitting back, um, what I believed then has come to fruition. If you really look at the amount of Black students, um, elected to s- I mean, selected to schools, it's in marked decline. Davis, for example, there were six in my class. There have been classes since then that had no Black students, or far less than five. Um, yet, we still have large amounts of, of Black people and other people that are existing. Um, and I think that it's very significant that ten years after Bakke with that feeling, that just the example of where I am and what's occurring now is very important. Ten years later, there are only two Black pediatricians existing in Compton, California. Everybody nationwide basically almost have heard the term Compton as considered an all-Black city. It's largely Hispanic now. Um, there're a large amount of poor people and there are only two pediatricians in that whole city. The two pediatricians here are both Black. And they both came from that period of time. One guy who came out of inner city of, of Indiana, ah, Indianapolis, Indiana. And myself who came from Compton, California. There is no one else who's made a, who's made a selection to come in. If the two of us had not been trained in that era and were not here, who would fulfill the void now? Certainly Martin Luther King Hospital that was built because of the whole post-Martin Luther King era is now inundated with patients. And they cannot even take care of the patients. Who would fulfill that need? That's the question I asked then and that's the question that I ask now**


Great. Bless you.