Officials in Creve Coeur have renamed a local park after pioneering Black ophthalmologist Howard P. Venable, M.D., in a move the late physician's relatives called the "first step" toward making amends for a nearly 70-year-old injustice. In 1956, Dr. Venable, then an ophthalmologist in the St. Louis area, purchased land where the park now sits to build a home for his wife and family. After refusing to bow to pressure from white neighbors to sell the land and move, Dr. Venable's property was ultimately seized through eminent domain. Click here to read more about Dr. Venable's story as featured by PBS News Hour.
During his groundbreaking career, Dr. Venable would go on to become the director of three ophthalmology departments and serve as the first Black ophthalmologist to administer examinations for the American Board of Ophthalmology. He personally trained more than 40 Black ophthalmologists, and in the 1980s, established a fund to recruit more Black medical students to the profession. In 1994, the American Academy of Ophthalmology awarded him its Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award. Dr. Venable died in 1998 at the age of 85.