Revisiting the Scene: Quentin Young’s Chicago

Quentin Young, a notable Chicago physician and activist, visits various Chicago sites important to his personal history of political activism, providing the context for each site as he does so. Throughout the course of the video, Young visits Valois Restaurant in Hyde Park, the site of the 1937 Memorial Day massacre, Bughouse Square, 1515 S Hamlin, the John Alexander Logan Monument, Federal Plaza, Cook County Hospital, Michael Reese Medical Center, and Daley Plaza.

0:00Copy video clip URL Title card.

0:06Copy video clip URL Young sits in Valois Restaurant in Hyde Park while he discusses the Hyde Park community and its particular social and political relevance. “Hyde Park itself has a uniqueness, an independence, a progressive tradition in its political life as well as its social life. […] The ideas and attitudes that I experienced in Hyde Park have informed my entire life.”

0:40Copy video clip URL Young stands in an abandoned lot on the southeast side of Chicago, explaining its history as a steel production mecca and as the site for the 1937 Memorial Day massacre. In front of the site’s memorial, Young tells the story of the ten steelworkers who lost their lives at the site during a strike. “It moved me in a way that I’ve never been able to forget. That working people exercising their constitutional rights to organize could be killed in my own city was something that never left me. It’s very much a part of my thinking as I go through life, and the necessity to bring justice to people who are oppressed.”

1:52Copy video clip URL In Bughouse Square (also known as Washington Square Park), which Young names “Chicago’s citadel of free speech,” Young stands on a soapbox to talk about his relationship both as a member of and often in opposition to the American Medical Association.

2:56Copy video clip URL Arriving at another abandoned lot, Young explains that the space used to be 1515 S Hamlin, where Martin Luther King lived during his time in Chicago fighting for housing justice. Young talks about being King’s doctor while King was in Chicago and the Medical Committee for Human Rights.

4:27Copy video clip URL Young stands at the foot of the John Alexander Logan Monument, where demonstrators and press gathered in 1968 during the Democratic Convention, where both groups were attacked by police, and where Young himself provided medical treatment to wounded protesters. 

5:29Copy video clip URL Young travels next to Federal Plaza, standing in front of Calder’s Flamingo. He tells the story of being called to Congress’s House Committee on Unamerican Activities after the Democratic Convention. Young reads an excerpt from the testimony he gave to the committee, decrying their actions and the committee itself.

7:14Copy video clip URL In front of Cook County Hospital, Young talks about his history with the hospital, mentioning the famous 1975 Cook County Hospital strike, and the replacement of the hospital building itself. “The hospital is vital to the care of the hundreds and thousands of sick poor in this community.”

8:26Copy video clip URL In stark contrast to the bustling, modern Cook County Hospital, the next site is the abandoned campus of Michael Reese Medical Center, which Young names “a dead hospital.” Young provides his story of attempting to get a position at the hospital in 1952 when the hospital “was arguably the best hospital in Chicago for research, teaching, and healthcare.” Young explains how the hospital changing to corporate hands ultimately lead to the downfall of the hospital. “It’s a huge loss to the city,” says Young, “and it’s a metaphor for what corporate medicine does to a health system– seeking profit over patient service.”

10:03Copy video clip URL Still in front of Michael Reese, Young talks about the founding of the Health and Medicine Policy Research Group, the group’s mission, and its impact.

10:44Copy video clip URL Now at Daley Plaza, Young talks about the plaza’s ties to both Cook County government and Chicago city government, outlining the crisis in healthcare now. “The present healthcare crisis is different. It involves the entire nation, and it’s much deeper and systemic. Over forty-five million people without health insurance, and the cost of healthcare becoming too much for our economy to bear. We need a national solution. We’re going to make it happen by having universal, single-payer, national health insurance,” Young says, adding, “It is a must. Without it, we’ll not only have a failed health system, we’ll have a failed nation.”

12:16Copy video clip URL Credits.



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