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Dr. Paul Knott

Cardiologist, inventor and nautical entrepreneur Dr. Paul Knott was born Albert Paul Lowe Knott, Jr. on March 23, 1935 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His ancestors include his paternal great grandfather, A.M.E. Bishop Gaston Knott of Eastern Tennessee (founder of Gaston, Tennessee), his grandfather, Albert Knott, a Morristown College graduate (Class of 1898) and the first Black police officer in Pittsburgh, his father, Albert Paul Knott, Sr., a physician and social activist, his mother, Fannie Meredith Scott Knott, a teacher and her father who was a physician. Knott’s parents were friends of Pittsburgh Courier editor, Robert L. Vann, and entertained Eleanor Roosevelt, George, Jody and Philippa Schuyler and other notables in their Hill District home. Knott attended the University of Pittsburgh’s Frick School and graduated from Schenley High School, where he swam and was co-captain of the track team in 1952. Entering Yale University at age seventeen, Knott, one of four blacks in his class, co-founded and joined the campus NAACP, the largest university chapter of the organization at that time. He graduated with his B.A. degree in human behavior and cultural anthropology in 1956. Pursuing medicine, Knott earned his M.D. degree from Seton Hall College of Medicine in 1960. That same year, he did an internship at Georgetown University.

Appointed a cardiovascular research fellow at Chicago’s Michael Reese Hospital from 1961 to 1963, Knott became senior medical resident at Hines V.A. Hospital from 1963 to 1965, becoming board eligible in internal medicine and cardiology. Serving in the U.S. Navy, Knott was chief of cardiology at the United States Naval Hospital at Great Lakes, Illinois from 1965 to 1967. There, he wrote a white paper on racial discrimination in public facilities servicing military installations. As a result, a federal law was passed making racial discrimination illegal in public facilities. Knott attended the First World Black Festival of Arts and Culture in Dakar, Senegal in 1966. From 1966 to 1981, he was a cardiology consultant for Daniel Hale Williams Health Center in Chicago, while teaching medicine at Loyola University, the University of Illinois and Rush Medical College. Knott also served on the staff’s of Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center, Mile Square Community Health Center, Louise Burg Hospital, Provident Hospital and Bethany Hospital. At Tabernacle Community Hospital, he was associate medical director from 1972 to 1977. From 1977 to 1981, Knott served as chief medical and administrative officer for Bethany and Garfield Park Hospitals and Clinics. He was chief medical officer and medical administrator for Illinois’ Stateville Correctional Center from 1981 to 1983 where he implemented and directed the development of sick call procedures. Knott was medical director of Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center from 1984 to 1986. Founding Correctional Healthcare Administrators in 1985, Knott has consulted on numerous medical projects. In 1988, he completed a feasibility study and plan for a 50,000 square foot facility at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. Through the 1990s, Knott worked as an emergency room and trauma physician. He also earned certification in advanced trauma life support.

In the 1980s, Knott established a successful charter boat business with six boats, the largest being a 220 passenger dinner boat. In the early 1990s, he invented and manufactured the Knott Lock, security device for automobiles. Knott, a member of Sigma Pi Phi for over forty years, lives in Chicago with his wife, Lynda and their two children.

Knott passed away on July 20, 2018.

Knott was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 14, 2007.

Accession Number

A2007.007

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/14/2007

Last Name

Knott

Maker Category
Schools

Schenley High School

Henry Clay Frick Training School of Teachers

Yale University

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey

First Name

Lynda

Birth City, State, Country

Pittsburgh

HM ID

KNO02

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

What's Up?

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

3/23/1935

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chili

Death Date

7/20/2018

Short Description

Cardiologist and hospital executive Dr. Paul Knott (1935 - 2018) dedicated his career to medical administration, was founder of the Correctional Healthcare Administrators, and invented the Knott Lock security device for automobiles.

Employment

Michael Reese Hospital

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Dr. Paul Knott's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Dr. Paul Knott lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Dr. Paul Knott describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Dr. Paul Knott remembers his maternal aunt and uncle

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Dr. Paul Knott describes his mother's education

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Dr. Paul Knott describes his father's family background, pt. 1

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Dr. Paul Knott describes his father's family background, pt. 2

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Dr. Paul Knott describes his parents' marriage

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Dr. Paul Knott remembers his community in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Dr. Paul Knott describe his earliest childhood memory

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Dr. Paul Knott describe the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Dr. Paul Knott remembers the prominent guests to his parents' home

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Dr. Paul Knott recalls his interest in the news of World War II

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Dr. Paul Knott remembers Jessie Matthews Vann

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Dr. Paul Knott talks about his early interest in reading

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Dr. Paul Knott remembers the Henry Clay Frick Training School for Teachers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Dr. Paul Knott describes his extracurricular activities

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Dr. Paul Knott remembers Schenley High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Dr. Paul Knott remembers his early influences

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Dr. Paul Knott recalls his decision to apply to Yale University

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Dr. Paul Knott talks about the faculty of Schenley High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Dr. Paul Knott remembers his admission to Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Dr. Paul Knott recalls his election as student council president

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Dr. Paul Knott remembers arriving at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Dr. Paul Knott talks about his social life at Yale University

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Dr. Paul Knott talks about the NAACP chapter at Yale University

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. Paul Knott remembers his interest in anthropology

Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Dr. Paul Knott recalls his medical school applications

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Dr. Paul Knott remembers race relations at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Dr. Paul Knott recalls his classmates' apologies at their fifty-year reunion

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Dr. Paul Knott remembers the background of his peers at Yale University

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Dr. Paul Knott recalls the impact of the Korean War

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Dr. Paul Knott remembers moving to Jersey City, New Jersey

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Dr. Paul Knott remembers Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Dr. Paul Knott recalls his experiences on segregated trains

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Dr. Paul Knott describes his medical residency and fellowship

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Dr. Paul Knott talks about the Playboy Mansion in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Dr. Paul Knott remembers the community of black physicians in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Dr. Paul Knott describes the Tabernacle Community Hospital and Health Center in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Dr. Paul Knott describes his early medical career

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Dr. Paul Knott talks about the opportunities for black doctors in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Dr. Paul Knott talks about his medical career in Chicago, Illinois

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Dr. Paul Knott recalls his study of blood pressure in African American patients

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Dr. Paul Knott remembers his childhood vacations in Canada

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Dr. Paul Knott describes his boat charter business

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Dr. Paul Knott recalls closing his boat charter business

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Dr. Paul Knott remembers Mayor Harold Washington

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Dr. Paul Knott describes the Knott Lock

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Dr. Paul Knott talks about his involvement in the Boule, pt. 1

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Dr. Paul Knott talks about his involvement in the Boule, pt. 2

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Dr. Paul Knott describes the Boule

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Dr. Paul Knott remembers the founding of the Percy Julian Luncheon

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Dr. Paul Knott describes the changes in the Boule organization

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Dr. Paul Knott talks about the political influence of Yale University alumni

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Dr. Paul Knott describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Dr. Paul Knott reflects upon his life

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Dr. Paul Knott talks about his health

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Dr. Paul Knott reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Dr. Paul Knott talks about his family

Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Dr. Paul Knott describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Dr. Paul Knott narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

7$5

DATitle
Dr. Paul Knott recalls his experiences on segregated trains
Dr. Paul Knott describes the Knott Lock
Transcript
It was Montgomery [Alabama] that was hell, so I was in Montgomery in 1950. I was fifteen, and I was in Montgomery; I remember Montgomery--pretty rough place, but anyway (laughter).$$Okay. Did you have--was that the first time you'd been down south like that, in Montgomery, in those days?$$No. At first I was a little kid; I, I used to go with my mother [Fannie Scott Knott] and my two sisters [Patricia Knott and Sylvia Knott Simmons]; we'd go visit my [maternal] grandmother [Lula Allen Scott] in the summertime, so that was interesting. We'd get--we--my father [A. Paul Knott, Sr.] put us on a train in Pittsburgh [Pennsylvania], and we'd go to Cincinnati [Ohio], then we'd get on a train in Cincinnati, and the train would go across the Ohio River, and it would stop halfway over on the Ohio River going across into Kentucky, because all the black people had to go to the black car, which was not air conditioned, and I can remember that ride in that car. It was terribly hot in the summertime--no air conditioning, nothing, and they'd have the windows open and dust would be flying in there. And what my mother used to do is always pack us lunches in shoe boxes, and so we'd eat and--because she refused that we--that she was subjected to eating in the dining car, because in the dining car, they had a green cloth where blacks would sit in the corner, and they'd pull this green curtain around 'em. I don't know you ever heard of that, but I, I mean I even remember the color of it; it was green. They'd pull a green curtain. Have you heard, have you heard of that (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) And you'd be separated. I've, I've heard similar things, yeah.$$Yes, and pull that little green curtain around you (laughter). And my mother would never go for that, and then we'd be so thirsty because in those days, you didn't have cans of Coke [Coca-Cola], or a bottle of Coke, or something that you could carry with you, and there was no ice. So, the, the guys on the train that would serve us sandwiches and drinks, they were called butcher boys, and the butcher boys would get on one stop, and then get off on the other, and they'd bring their stuff. And the butcher boys--it was like, I don't know, I guess equivalent to Kool Aid nowadays; it was this red punch they'd mix up, but they'd mix it in the sink in the bathroom (laughter).$$In a train (laughter)?$$Yeah (laughter), 'cause we'd be sitting across from the bathroom, and we'd watch--'cause I--when you're kids, we want something to drink. My mother would say no. She'd have a thermos bottle, you know, but that wouldn't last very long and--'cause you had thermos bottles in those days, but then the butcher boy would be mixing stuff up in the sink and then dip it out into us, to us, then they go throughout the car selling to the black people (laughter).$$In the bathroom sink.$$In the bathroom sink, yeah. Now, I, I remember that's--that happened. But see, I don't know how many times we traveled to Chattanooga [Tennessee], but it's been far more than one time in the summertime since, you know, I was five, six--four, five, six years old going down there.$Well, tell us about your invention. You invented a--well, this is one invention I know about; there may be more, but the Knott Lock.$$Well, it may seem kind of funny (laughter). I've always just done a lot of things, and one of the, one of the things I, I would say, I'm a pretty good mechanic, well, working on these boats at all times, and I'm a good diesel mechanic and a good mechanic, and I've had several cars stolen so I just thought of this and--this lock, and also working with some fellows that had developed--did various kinds of locks, then I developed this one and got a patent on it. Which, it's just a brick-locking device and also there's a starter-interrupt switch, so when you turn the key to lock the, lock the brakes, it interrupts the starter so you can't start it. If you can't start it, you can't move it; you can't move it anyways because the brakes are locked.$$Right.$$Only thing you do is lift it up.$$That's unusual that most of these devices lock the steering wheel now, right?$$Yeah.$$I've seen--we've seen The Club that they advertise.$$Well, yeah, well this, this beat The Club. I mean The Club, The Club--most of--you can't show me a Club I can't get off. So whether you manipulate--either that or you cut it, or cut the steering wheel, so The Club is no big deal. The Knott Lock, as I call it, you can get it off, but it's so time consuming and hard and you need a blowtorch and--to really get it off. People would pass up on it and go to something else that's easier to steal. But why it wasn't a success--actually, outside of the country--you got it into Australia and Germany. It was pretty successful over there because--but here in the United States, everybody was already tuned into the, the chirp like when you--electronically you would lock your doors and you hear that beep, beep, beep, beep, and everybody was--every housewife--everybody was tuned into that, so that's what killed us there. That, that just made it very difficult to--and the price we had to sell it to make any profit out of it, it was difficult to do it here because of the, the competition of an electronic device which was nowhere near and protecting your car that the--that our lock would.$$Did you still some of 'em available? Are they--$$Yeah.$$Do you still sell any of 'em?$$No, no, no.$$Okay, all right.$$We have some available, yeah.$$Okay.$$Yeah, I got some in storage, yeah.$$Okay.$$It's the kind of thing, you say, "Well, maybe someday." Oh, I, I tried to sell it and we went to car manufacturers and all, but the truth of the matter, what I found out, believe it or not, they didn't want anything like that because you couldn't steal a car, and that would help their sales and also help their repair--I mean getting, getting their cars repaired and restored afterwards, yeah, so--no (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) Sounds like the Tucker situation or something, you know.$$Yeah, like the Tucker car [Tucker 48], yeah, same thing, yeah. That's big business--United States, and that's big business; that's the way things work. So, they, they didn't want--I mean even to incorporate--they could have very inexpensively incorporated it into their cars--in the manufacturing (simultaneous)--$$(Simultaneous) As a design for the--yeah.$$Yeah, yeah in, in terms of when they manufacture it, because the key chips and everything today that you have, they could be defeated. Any of these electronic locks I can show you how to defeat in less than a minute.$$Okay. So, that venture lasted from the early '90s [1990s] until--$$Yeah, that was several years--around, around 1990, yeah.$$Okay. Do you have any other--have you invented anything else?$$Yeah, I never got a patent on it. I'm just thinking. One was--back in the early '60s [1960s], which they do it a lot now, and somebody else, I'm sure, has got the patent on it 'cause they do it a lot now, was putting--taking an electrocardiogram in back of the heart by putting electrode down into the esophagus--esophageal electrode. I was the first to do that; that was back in the early '60s [1960s]. I published that. But no, I'd say I've only got one patent.$$Okay (simultaneous).$$(Simultaneous) And this other stuff, just creative stuff. I was always the kind of guy that always just liked to do a lot of things; I mean a lot of different kind of things, not satisfied to do one thing.