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Karen Buhler-Wilkerson and Sarah A. Johnson

By any standard, Anna De Costa Banks was an exceptional nurse. Raised and educated in Charleston, South Carolina, Banks graduated from Hampton Institute in Virginia in 1891. She then attended the newly chartered Hampton Hospital and Training School for Nurses, graduating in its first class in 1893. She later recounted in letters to her mentors that the training she received at Hampton had shaped her whole life. Having received special funds to attend Hampton, Banks felt an obligation to work on behalf of the black community that had supported her.

Returning to Charleston, Banks became head nurse of the Hospital and Training School for Nurses when it opened in 1896 Committed to meeting the health care needs of the black community these institutions were also created in response to the denial of staff privileges to black physicians and the exclusion of black women from admission to the ...


Barbara B. Tomblin

army general, nurse, and educator, was born Hazel Winifred Johnson, the daughter of Clarence L. and Garnett Johnson, in Malvern, Pennsylvania. One of seven children, she grew up in a close-knit family on a farm in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Although she was rejected from the local nursing program because of racial prejudice, Johnson persisted in her childhood dream of becoming a nurse and received a nursing diploma in 1950 from Harlem Hospital School of Nursing in New York City. Following graduation, she worked as a beginning-level staff nurse at Harlem Hospital's emergency ward and in 1953 went to the Veterans Administration Hospital in Philadelphia, quickly becoming the head nurse on a ward.

Two years later Johnson decided to join the army because she said the Army had more variety to offer and more places to go Bombard 65 She was commissioned as a second lieutenant ...


Susan M. Reverby

After a lifetime of labor militancy and commitment, Lillian Davis Roberts at seventy-two was not meant for retirement, volunteer work, and trips to Atlantic City with her friends. Roberts was called when her New York union, District Council (DC) 37 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), was coming out of receivership after corruption and vote fraud had rocked the union’s highest levels. In 2000, she became a consultant to the union. On 26 February 2002 she was elected the union’s executive director.

Such leadership was not new for Roberts. More than twenty years earlier, on 9 January 1981, New York governor Hugh Carey had proclaimed Lillian Roberts Day in tribute to the labor leader s importance to the political and economic struggles of working people Then DC 37 s associate director Roberts had been at the forefront of labor battles for decades ...


Anne Sarah Macpherson

was born to Francis and Margaret Myvett in colonial British Honduras. She attended Anglican elementary school in Belize Town and then entered the pupil–teacher system as a teenager. She taught in British Honduras and just across the border in Xcalak, Mexico, marrying Elizah Fitzgerald Seay in 1905. Her life from ages 24 to 37 is only partially documented, although she seems to have continued teaching after her marriage. She did not have children and, if living in Belize Town, did not qualify for the income- and property-restricted female municipal franchise granted in 1912.

In 1918 she signed a major petition, organized in Belize Town, which demanded reform of the Crown colony and unofficial majority systems in order to avoid popular rebellion. She likely joined other middle-class female volunteers during the global influenza epidemic crisis of late 1918–1919 and certainly entered the arenas of public health nursing and ...


Stephanie J. Shaw

National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses executive officer, was born Mabel Doyle in Barbados, British West Indies, to Thomas and Pauline Doyle. In 1903 her family settled in Harlem, where her father became a brake inspector for the New York Central Railroad. Staupers attended public schools in New York and graduated from Freedmen's Hospital School of Nursing (now the Howard University College of Nursing) in Washington, D.C., in 1917. After graduation, she began her professional career as a private-duty nurse in New York, but she soon went to work as a nurse administrator in Philadelphia. In 1922 she returned to Harlem and began an illustrious career as a nurse and an administrator.

The Great Migration of African Americans from the rural South resulted in an increase of over 66 percent in Harlem's black population between 1910 and 1920 The attendant social problems of such rapid population ...


Darlene Clark Hine

The history of black nursing is characterized by a relentless struggle for equality of opportunities and a quest for recognition and acceptance into the mainstream of American nursing. Although others also played major roles in the advance of black nursing, Mabel Keaton Staupers deserves special recognition. Staupers orchestrated the long struggle of black nurses to win full integration into the American nursing profession during the decades of the Great Depression and World War II. Staupers is perhaps best known for her role in implementing the desegregation of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps during World War II. She published an illuminating account of this and other battles of black nurses in No Time for Prejudice: A Story of the Integration of Negroes in Nursing in the United States (1961).

Born in Barbados, West Indies, to Thomas and Pauline Doyle, in April 1903 she and her parents ...


Darlene Clark Hine

Adah Belle Samuels Thoms devoted her life to nursing—working to improve nurse training, to organize and develop the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses, and to offer equal employment opportunities in the American Red Cross and the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. Thoms also documented the struggles of black nurses in Pathfinders: A History of the Progress of Colored Graduate Nurses (1929).

Adah Belle Samuels Thoms was born in Richmond, Virginia, to Harry and Melvina Samuels. In 1893, she moved to New York City to study elocution and public speaking at the Cooper Union. It did not take her long to realize the need for more remunerative work. After a job at the Woman’s Infirmary and School of Therapeutic Massage in New York, Thoms, the only black student in a nursing class of thirty, graduated in 1900.

On receipt of her diploma Thoms worked as ...