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Doctor Describes a “Reign of Terror and Racism” at University of Kentucky Medical School

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By Lachin Hatemi M.D

Lexington Kentucky is an interesting city; my adopted hometown; an ever
growing college town, full of potential. Surrounded by beautiful and
legendary horse farms, it is also home to the 2012 NCAA Basketball
champions: the Wildcats of the University of Kentucky. A team of mostly
black college athletes carried the championship cup back to Lexington, an
achievement recognized by the entire country and President Obama. Given
that the University’s sports teams were not integrated until the late 60’s,
it is worthy of note that of the University’s 8 NCAA basketball
championship teams, the 2012 team was the first to have an all African
American starting lineup. In the sports arena, UK has seemingly come a long
way when in comes to including African Americans and minorities, and
remains a popular destination for black high school athletes.
Unfortunately, the same degree of inclusion does not exist on the academic
side of the University. The numbers of undergraduate and graduate students,
professional students, and tenured professors do not come close to matching
the diversity of the overall US or state population.

Despite being home to many notable Black Americans and being the location
of a great deal of Black American history, Lexington, Kentucky has never
been seen as having a reputation of being a hospitable place for
minorities. Much of this reputation is rooted in the city’s ties to
slavery. The area known as Cheapside in downtown Lexington was once home to
the most well known slave auction facility in the south. It was here that
African slaves were beaten, sold, and lead off in chains, forever to be
separated from parents, siblings, children, brothers and sisters for the
sake of the greed and profit of the white aristocracy. It is a horrible
legacy, and in many ways its spirit still exists in the area, though in far
less apparent ways.

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