Paul N. Saunders



Interview Date


Biographical History

Paul N. Saunders received his Master’s of Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh in 1948. He was director of the Joint Community Health Services in St. Louis in the 1970s. He served as president to the St. Louis chapter of the National Association of Black Social Workers. He testified before congress during hearings to extend the Public Health Services Act and other related laws to the improvement of the delivery of healthcare.


An interview of the Washington University Medical Center Desegregation History Project, conducted by Edwin W. McCleskey and associates, 1990. Approximate Length: 64 minutes.

Paul Saunders discusses the suit he and others filed against Barnes Hospital in 1978 for civil rights violations, as well as the state of health care policy and health care for Black people in St. Louis.

Saunders discusses the policy for “geographic separation of patients” at Barnes Hospital’s Maternity Hospital, initiated by hospital director Robert Frank in 1978, and the suit Saunders and others filed with the Missouri Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

He addresses hospital policies and procedures which create informal segregation, and the effects of white flight on medical care in St. Louis, particularly for indigent patients. He discusses the need for national health insurance, and barriers created by the current health care system for Black patients.


Washington University Medical Center Desegregation History Project


Bernard Becker Medical Library Archives


Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, Missouri

PC054-S12-B01-F27-i02_Paul_N_Saunders_oral_history_audio_recording.mp3 (59783 kB)
Paul N. Saunders Oral History Audio