Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dr. Les Bond Dies; Made History as First Black on Lindell Boulevard

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dr. Les Bond Dies; Made History as First Black on Lindell Boulevard

Article excerpt

Dr. Les Bond, who died last week at age 85, was a prominent surgeon who made history during the 1960s by building a home on Lindell Boulevard, across from the handball courts in Forest Park.

Knowing that he was about to become the first African-American in an all-white neighborhood, Dr. Bond was careful not to use his own name to buy the property.

Instead, he used the name of a relative who didn't have a birth certificate, to make it difficult for anyone to track down the race of the buyer. The tactic came into common use during the time when many St. Louis neighborhoods remained segregated.

The ploy worked, and Dr. Bond got the property, his family recalled Tuesday. To their delight, the neighbors turned out to be welcoming, and their children played with the Bond children.

But getting the house built was not as easy. White trade union members picketed the construction site after Dr. Bond hired black electricians to work on his home, the family said.

The Bonds moved into their new home in 1965 and lived there until 2005.

The integration of Lindell Boulevard was considered an important milestone for the city; Mayor Raymond Tucker attended a meeting of the NAACP and announced that the Bonds had moved into their new home.

Dr. Bond died Thursday (March 21, 2013) at The Gatesworth in University City. He was diagnosed in December with lung cancer, his family said.

Leslie Fee Bond Sr. was born in Louisville, Ky., where his father was a physician. The family moved to Galesburg, Ill. After graduating from the University of Illinois, Dr. Bond enrolled at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn., then one of two medical schools for blacks.

He moved to St. Louis for the same reason that many black physicians did: Homer G. Phillips Hospital on the city's North Side was one of few hospitals where African-American doctors could train as residents.

The hospital was built in 1937 at a time when the city's other public hospitals had no black staff members.

Homer G. Phillips Hospital boasted that it trained the largest number of black physicians and nurses in the world. Dr. Bond was one of the many physicians who stayed in St. Louis after his training. …

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