GREENSBORO, NC- It was a different time in the 1960s.
"Look at Cone Health today, look at it yesterday," Greensboro physician Alvin Blount said. "A 180-degree turn."
Segregated schools, water fountains, hospitals.
But in 1962, Dr. Blount and 10 other African-Americans fought back.
"When we got man enough, we sought the relief of the courts," Dr. Blount said.
They sued Moses Cone Memorial and Wesley Long Hospitals in Greensboro for the right for black medical professionals to be able to care for black patients, and won.
Their landmark case paved the way for hospitals across the country to become integrated.
"We've come along ways to do this date," Blount said.
The now 94-year-old was the first black surgeon to practice at Cone Health.
Since then, he's had a health care center in town named after him. And Thursday, health care professionals came together to recognize Blount, the only plaintiff still alive, for his courage.
"It really is an opportunity to acknowledge our history," Cone Health cardiologist Henry Smith said. "To look at and thank a person who brought about change."
Cone Health also apologized for the injustices imposed on black doctors years ago.
"Some might say it was a little overdue," Blount's daughter, Gwendolyn Adolph, said. "And I say it's never too late to do what's right and just."
Blount's adult children were with their father for the big moment.
He was presented with a brick used to build Moses Cone in the '50s.
A symbol of how far the hospital's come, of diversity and inclusion.
For Dr. Blount, a symbol of progress.
"Now that we're here, let's be happy about what we've done," Blount said.
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