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JULIUS B. RICHMOND AND HEAD START: THE DREAM BECOME REALITY CHARLES]. BUSSEY* In October 1965, a year after Congress passed the Economie Opportunity Act, Julius B. Richmond delivered a special report to the American Academy of Pediatrics meeting in Chicago. A highly respected academic pediatrician, Richmond described the newly developed experiment for disadvantaged children called "Head Start." It was a moving time for the physician, who had for the past nine months been at the center of creating the most successful of President Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society" programs. Summarizing Head Start's 1965 summer success, Richmond concluded by saying that while much has been accomplished, "It is apparent that ever so much remains to be done." He continued, "This may be what Robert Frost had in mind when he wrote: The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep." Caution tempered Richmond's enthusiasm. Julius B. Richmond: Influences, Education, and Goals Who is Julius Richmond? Why was he chosen to direct project Head Start? What was his role in institutionalizing that program? Born the second son of Russian-Jewish immigrant parents in Chicago in 1916, Richmond was one of those rare physicians who moved easily between academic medicine and government service. An uncommon For much of the personal material in this history, the author had the benefit of interviews with Julius B. Richmond, Marc Hollender, Herb Abrams, Patricia Spain-Ward, Bettye Caldwell, Polly Greenberg, Richard Polsky, JuIe Sugarman, David Hamburg, and Leslie Dunbar. *Department of History, Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Kentucky 42101.© 1993 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved. 0031-5982/93/3603-0817101.00 Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 36, 3 ¦ Spring 1993 429 man, Richmond not only saw problems in society, he spent his life working to correct them. Richmond's interest in serving the disadvantaged began at an age when most children inhabit only their own limited world. "My parents," he said, "fled Czarist rule in Russia and settled in Chicago. My early recollections are that my parents emphasized excellence and community service." Jacob and Anna Richmond took their son to Jane Addams's famed Hull House and exposed him to the remarkable ideas and achievements of the women there, who dedicated themselves to securing child labor laws, educational opportunities, and health services, especially for children. Women like Florence Kelly, Alice Hamilton, and Julia Lathrope provided models for institutionalizing services (infant welfare stations, children's courts, the pioneer child guidance clinic) for the rest of the century. Richmond's exposure to the example of Hull House occurred between the ages of six and ten, for his mother died in 1927 with a brain tumor. She and Jacob—Richmond refers to them as "social democrats and activists on behalf of others"—planted in their son's mind the idea that he could make a difference in society. He did. When his mother died, Richmond's father sent him "to a most remarkable little school [Allendale] founded by Edward 'Cap' Bradley in 1898. Cap was an influential figure in terms of his interest in children and his integrative capacity." He was an "old patriarchal figure full of wisdom." This interlude gave Richmond "an experience in group living and got me out into a cultural setting different from the one in which I had been growing up. I had," Richmond said, "an opportunity to see contrasts and to get a comparative view." After several years at Allendale, Richmond returned to Chicago to live with his father and attend high school. He graduated from John Marshall High School (just a few years after Admiral Hyman Rickover's tenure there) in 1933. As a 17-year-old, he started college at the University of Illinois, Urbana. Richmond met his future wife Rhee Chidekel at a demonstration protesting segregated university housing. "Can you imagine," he recalled in his seventies, "segregation in the land of Lincoln !" That same year saw his first publication, "American Serfdom," a paper exploring the debilitating share-cropping system that dominated economic life in the American South. Early on, then, a pattern emerged that has characterized his subsequent...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-8795
Print ISSN
0031-5982
Pages
pp. 429-441
Launched on MUSE
2015-01-07
Open Access
No
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