A Black History of Port Charles Part 1
Dr. Tracy Adams
In 1968, ABC’s One Life To Live made history by introducing the first Black character on a daytime soap opera. Later that year, General Hospital cast actress Kim Hamilton in the role of Dr. Tracy Adams giving America the first black, female doctor on television. The character challenged conventional perceptions of race and gender at the time which the soap opera addressed in its storyline. Despite being handpicked by Dr. Steve Hardy, the hospital board objected to hiring Dr. Adams based on the color of her skin. Dr. Hardy successfully fought for her by threatening to quit unless they reversed their decision. The character would eventually form a bond with a white patient named Douglas Burke, who suffered temporary blindness. The patient had his eyesight restored and was blown away by Dr. Adams’ beauty. The two eventually married, and Dr. Tracy Adams left town in 1969.
Bryan Phillips & Claudia Johnston-Phillips
Bryan Philips was the best friend of Scott Baldwin as well as a fellow law school student. While studying law, Bryan found himself drawn to the beautiful and wealthy Claudia Johnston. Claudia’s wealth and status caused anxiety for Bryan as he had a poor relationship with his birth father. Bryan saw Rick Webber as a father figure, although he would reconcile with his father (played by guest star Sammy Davis Jr.). The relationship with Claudia blossomed, and the two were married. Claudia became fast friends with Laura Spencer and would remain close through the adventurous years Laura had with Luke. There were some bumps in the road along the way as Bryan would risk his marriage on an affair; however, the two reconciled. Shortly after learning Claudia was pregnant, the two decided to leave Port Charles, but not before revealing they were expecting twins.
Mayor Ken Morgan
The ambitious Ken Morgan ran against Lee Baldwin (who had been unelected) for mayor of Port Charles. After winning the election, Ken quickly clashed with police commissioner Robert Scorpio. The mayor’s election campaign centered on revitalizing the waterfront district. The mayor intended to keep that promise, Even if it meant dealing with the mob whose influence over the waterfront caused the mayor (and Scorpio, Sean Donely, and Anna Devane) plenty of headaches. Mob-related scandals and increasing crime in Port Charles plagued his administration enough that Mayor Ken Morgan did not run again. He exited in 1987 with little fanfare.
Dr. Simone Revelle-Hardy
Dr. Simone Revelle started as GH’s newest pediatrician just as Tom Hardy returned to Port Charles from med school. Their romance would move quickly. In 1988, Tom and Simone’s wedding became the first interracial wedding in daytime television history. Soon after, Simone would learn she was expecting a child, and the couple looked forward to a bright future. Tragedy struck when a racist patient who took issue with their relationship got into an altercation with Tom resulting in Simone’s accidental miscarriage. The loss of the baby put pressure on their still young marriage. A grief-stricken Simone had an affair with another doctor, which she confessed to Tom, and the two worked out their differences. However, Simone became pregnant again, and questions over the paternity turned out to be warranted. Despite not being the father biologically, Tom embraced the baby and welcomed Tommy Hardy into his life with open arms. The couple would successfully keep full custody of the child when his birth father took them to court.
Their happiness was once again short-lived. Tom wanted to take on a position in Africa and saw no issue uprooting his family. Simone refused to give up the life she had made in Port Charles, and Tom left his wife and child behind. Simone would meet Justus Ward shortly after and found romance with the lawyer.
Tom later returned to Port Charles, hoping to rekindle a romance with Simone despite her moving on. Simone and Justus eventually got engaged, although her young son had trouble adjusting to the new man in her life. The problems with Tommy frustrated Justus, and he was impatient with the child, much to Simone’s dismay. Simone chose to break off the engagement and leave Port Charles.
Dr. Simone Revelle-Hardy was featured on GH from 1987 through 1997. This run of 10 years was the longest for any Black character in the show’s history until Epiphany Johnson’s run began in 2006.
4 throughts on "GH: NOW IN COLOR"
Thank You for starting this. I have really enjoyed GH and it’s sometimes Black characters. Nice to see the “formal”, recognition. I winder, however, no more info on the Ward Family. Mary May, Keesha, Faith? Also how they are connected to the Spensers, Quartermaines and Webbers. Let’s not forget, Valerie Spenser. Guess you have to save something for the next installment. 😊👍🏽
I have loved working on this project as a GH fan and an ally. I am thankful to share the info I’ve learned and glad to know people are enjoying it. The next installment is much more in depth with more detailed summaries of storylines. There is also a better perspective on the critical and commercial state the soap opera was in at the time. And of course, the Ward family is the focus of Part 2!
Two notes of info…Brian Phillips was actually a grad student in Psychology or Sociology, later working with Dr. Gail; not a law student. He and Scott did meet in school.
Also, Tommy Hardy WAS actually Tom’s biologically. Simone’s racist mom conspired with the Black doctor (can’t recall his name) to rig the tests to make it look like Tom wasn’t the father…because they were angry Simone chose to stay with Tom. But somehow, they found out the truth.
Kudos to you, though, for giving this historical account of Black people on my favorite daytime show, since I was 9 (for 58 years).
I apologize for the errors- finding accurate and detailed info on soap storylines is surprisingly tricky. Thank you for the positive feedback as well. I may not be part of the community, but the impact of these stories helped shape my experience and reflected the diversity of the real world. I felt sharing what I could be the best way to show my support.