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Amilcar Priestley

was born in St. Lucy, Barbados, on 15 November 1916. She was the second child and eldest daughter of her parents’ five children. Her father was the Reverend Reginald Barrow, a controversial Anglican priest who gave sermons against racism and social stratification, which resulted in his dismissal from his post in St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. Her mother was Ruth O’Neal Barrow, sister of Dr. Charles Duncan O’Neal, who was the founder of the Democratic League and is regarded as a national hero of Barbados. After attending primary school in St. Croix, where her father had a congregation, she entered St. Michael’s Girls’ School in Barbados—the island’s first high school to accept girls—in 1928. After graduating in 1934 she began a career in nursing first at the Barbados General Hospital then as a midwife at Port of Spain General Hospital in Trinidad and later as ...

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Miriam Sawyer

Bragg, Janet (24 March 1907–11 April 1993), aviator, nurse, and nursing home proprietor, was born Janet Harmon in Griffin, Georgia, the daughter of Cordia Batts Harmon and Samuel Harmon, a brick contractor. The Batts family had long been established in Griffin. Bragg's maternal grandfather was a freed slave of Spanish descent, and her maternal grandmother was a Cherokee. Bragg's grandfather had built the house in which she and her siblings were born; her mother had been born in the same house. Bragg, the youngest of seven children, had a happy childhood, enjoying sports and games and excelling at school. In an interview conducted at the University of Arizona as part of a project called African Americans in Aviation in Arizona, Bragg reminisced: “We were a very happy family. We were not a rich family, only rich in love.”

Independence was encouraged in the Harmon household The children ...

Article

nurse, affectionately known as “Cherry,” was born Eumeda Powis in the largely rural parish of Clarendon, Jamaica, on 16 January 1939. Her father, Ferdinal Powis, was a farmer. Her mother’s name and occupation are unknown. She attended the Collington and Crooked River Schools in the parish, and later, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, she went on to receive a tertiary education in Great Britain, attending Trafford College and Manchester Polytechnic. Her studies at the tertiary level established her in the field of healthcare, in which she had a distinguished career. She married Arthur S. Byfield and gave birth to two children while residing in Britain for over thirty years. It was here that Byfield did extensive work in nursing. Nursing was not her only passion, however. She was committed to community development in both Britain and her home county of Jamaica.

Byfield took refuge in her work ...

Article

Hilary Mac Austin

Maude Callen was a nurse-midwife, known today because she was the subject of a Life magazine photo-essay by the famed photojournalist W. Eugene Smith. In her lecture at the Radcliffe Institute entitled “Black before Brown: Education, Health, and Social Welfare Professionals in the South, 1930-1954,” Darlene Clark Hine noted of Callen, “She became the first African American woman in United States history to be featured in a mainstream white publication that did not telescope her body or sexuality.” The 3 December 1951 essay entitled “Nurse Midwife: Maude Callen Eases Pain of Birth, Life, and Death” shows that Callen was an exemplary human being: strong, tireless, brave, committed, and indomitable. It also shows that Callen essentially ran her own private social service agency for the poor of her community. What the essay did not show, could not show, in a mainstream, conservative publication such as Life except by ...

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Hassoum Ceesay

Gambian politician, women's rights activist, playwright, and nurse, was born in May 1924 in Banjul, Gambia, to Sir John Mahoney, the first Speaker of the Gambian Legislature, and Lady Hannah Mahoney, a typist. She attended St Joseph's Convent and the Methodist Girls’ High School in Banjul, where she sat her Cambridge School Leaving Certificate Examination in 1942.

From 1942 to 1946 she worked as a nurse assistant at the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) in Banjul, before traveling to England in 1946 to study medicine at the Royal Infirmary, Bristol, where she obtained her State Registered Nurse (SRN) certificate in 1953. On returning to Gambia, she was posted as a nursing sister to Basse, 400 kilometers from Bathurst, where she met and married Dawda Kairaba Jawara. Their marriage at Basse in February 1955 was described in the Bathurst press as a unique occasion which ...

Article

Johnson was born in Waco, Texas. She received a bachelor's degree in 1955 from Saint Mary's at Notre Dame and a nursing degree in 1967 from Texas Christian University. She worked as a nurse until being elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1972. She earned a master's degree in public administration in 1976 from Southern Methodist University. Johnson left the statehouse in 1977 when President Jimmy Carter appointed her regional director of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW). She worked at HEW until 1981, then started her own business-consulting firm in Dallas.

In 1986 Johnson was elected to the Texas Senate. As chair of the Texas Senate subcommittee responsible for drawing congressional districts for 1992, she created the new Thirtieth Congressional District, which subsequently elected her to Congress in 1992. In 1994 federal judges ruled the district unconstitutional because it ...

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Mona E. Jackson

Named by Ebony magazine in 2001 as one of the ten most powerful black women in America, Eddie Bernice Johnson became the first African American woman to represent the Dallas, Texas, area in the U.S. Congress in 1992. With a passion for justice and the courage to speak her mind, Johnson has been a leader in championing legislation designed to empower low-income communities. As a member of the House of Representatives, Johnson has taken pride in transcending the actions of the average politician: “The average politician, in my judgment, just wants to get along. Getting along is important, but it’s not a number one thing for me. I believe in saying what I mean and meaning what I say.”

Eddie Bernice Johnson was born in Waco, Texas, to Edward Johnson and Lillie Mae White Johnson After finishing high school she attended St Mary s at Notre Dame ...

Article

Peter Brush

Democratic congresswoman. Johnson was born in Waco, Texas, where she graduated from high school in 1952. She earned a nursing certificate from the University of Notre Dame in 1955. She began her nursing career the following year at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Dallas, eventually becoming chief psychiatric nurse. Johnson married Dawrence Kirk and in 1958 had a son, Dawrence Jr. The marriage ended in divorce. In 1967 Johnson earned a BS from Texas Christian University and in 1976 a master's degree in public administration from Southern Methodist University.

During her sixteen years of nursing Johnson stayed active in community affairs. In 1972 she achieved a landside victory in her run for the Texas House of Representatives District Thirty three This was a historic achievement Johnson became the first black woman to win political office in Dallas In the house she was an advocate for health ...

Article

Linda Rochell Lane

Hazel W. Johnson broke through convention, custom, and racial and gender barriers in 1979 when she became the first black woman general in the American military. This accomplishment has guaranteed her a place in African American history, women’s history, and military history.

Hazel Johnson was born in 1927 in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Interested in travel and changing her outlook, she entered the army in 1955, five years after completing basic nurses’ training at New York’s Harlem Hospital. She received a direct commission as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Nursing Corps in May 1960. Taking advantage of the educational opportunities provided by the military, she earned a bachelor’s degree in Nursing from Villanova University, a master’s degree in Nursing Education from Columbia University, and a PhD in Education Administration through Catholic University.

Johnson was chief of the Army Nurse Corps from 1979 to 1983 the ...

Article

Cotdell Tuning

nurse and anti-fascist activist in Civil War Spain, was born Salaria Kea in Milledgeville, Georgia, but sometimes she cited her birthplace as Akron, Ohio. Salaria's parents’ names are not recorded, but when she was six months old her father, an attendant and gardener at a state hospital for the mentally ill, was killed by a patient. Her mother then moved her four young children to Akron, Ohio to be near family and friends. Within two years the mother returned to Georgia to remarry, leaving Salaria and her brothers, Andrew, Arthur, and George, to be raised by friends, a couple named Jackson, in Akron. The working-class family, which included the four Kea children and five Jackson children, struggled to get by on the meager tips earned by Salaria's adoptive father, a bellhop at the Akron Country Club.

Inspired by her summer work in the office of one of the city s ...

Article

Susan M. Reverby

Eunice Rivers Laurie may have been America’s most controversial and frequently discussed black public health nurse. In l958 she was given the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare’s highest honor, the Oveta Culp Hobby Award, for her “notable service covering 25 years during which through selfless devotion and skillful human relations she has sustained the interest and cooperation of the subjects of a venereal disease control program in Macon County, Alabama.”

Fourteen years later, media coverage revealed that the control program was in reality what would be considered the United States’ longest-running unethical medical experiment. Nurse Rivers, as she was called in her community, had been crucial in sustaining the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. It was a forty-year “study” (1932-1972 by the U S Public Health Service of late stage syphilis in 399 African American men and 201 others as controls that kept its subjects ignorant of their ...

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Frances B. Henderson

political leader and former first lady of Mozambique and South Africa, was born Graça Simbine in Gaza Province in rural Mozambique, the youngest of six children. She was born two weeks after the death of her father, and she and her siblings were raised by her mother. Machel attended a Methodist mission school starting at the age of 6, and upon completion of primary and secondary school in the early 1970s, she received a mission scholarship to study romance languages at the University of Lisbon in Portugal. In Lisbon she met other African students from the Portuguese colonies and began to develop her liberation politics. In 1973, upon her return to Mozambique, she joined the Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO) in its struggle for independence from Portuguese rule. Later in 1973 Machel fled to Tanzania to join FRELIMO in exile where she met her future husband ...

Article

Eric Young

Samora Machel was one of Africa’s most famous revolutionary figures, known for his charisma and disciplined character. As a revolutionary leader and as president of Mozambique, Machel created a cult of personality wrapped in Marxist ideology and populism. Like many of the Mozambican nationalist leaders, Machel, who was born in Chilembene, was a southerner who attended Catholic schools in his youth. He trained as a nurse and worked in Maputo’s central hospital before joining the nationalist group Front for the Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO), led by Eduardo Mondlane, in 1962. After receiving military training in Algeria the following year, Machel returned to lead many military operations during the war for independence. As the war progressed, Machel became commander of Nachingwea, FRELIMO’s military training camp in Tanzania, and became FRELIMO’s secretary of defense in 1966 and commander in chief in 1968 Shortly after the assassination of Eduardo ...

Article

Mary Ann Gosser Esquilín

was born to a large rural East Indian family in Guadeloupe. She moved to France and was a founding member of Choisir la Cause des Femmes (also known as CHOISIR), an organization that supported a woman’s right to choose an abortion. She wrote two novels—Mon examen de blanc (1972) and La graine: Journal d’une sage femme (1974) —in which the themes of racism and sexism, women’s sexuality, reproductive rights, and sterilization are directly brought to the foreground.

In Mon examen de blanc which roughly translates as My Whiteness Test Manicom s protagonist Dr Madévie Ramimoutou an anesthesiologist examines and criticizes medical practices in Guadeloupe and how women s bodies through gynecological abuses become sites where the political and ideological battles of the French colonial and post departmentalization system occur The first person narrator and protagonist observes the abuses but given the racial and gender ...

Article

Kaseem Robinson

Her parents’ identities are unknown. Many sources indicate that McCoy was of at least partial Mohawk ethnicity but according to the 1920 and 1940 U.S. Federal Census, she was identified as African American. Reed was married at the age of nineteen to Ireston T. McCoy; her husband was a butcher in a packing house. According to the New York Age newspaper, in 1915 McCoy was an active member of the A.M.E. Zion Church, a leading African American denomination, where she performed songs and recited many poems.

When the Dixwell Community House opened in New Haven, Connecticut in 1924, McCoy was named as its first associate director. In 1928 she became the founder of the first black Girl Scout troop in the United States Troop 24 in New Haven While she was associated with the Dixwell Community Q House Troop 24 was renamed the Laura Belle McCoy Girl Scout ...

Article

Marie Mosley

Estelle Massey Osborne devoted her life to nursing—as a practitioner and as an advocate for improved training and better job opportunities for black nurses. Estelle Massey was born in Palestine, Texas, the eighth of eleven children of Hall and Bettye Estelle Massey, a remarkable couple with strong opinions about child rearing. The Massey children raised and sold vegetables for spending money. The Massey daughters were not allowed to work for white employers because their mother did not want them exposed to racism. The Masseys brought up their children to be strong, confident, and proud.

Estelle Massey attended Prairie View State College After graduation she taught became a nurse and then taught nursing At that point she decided that she needed more education While attending Teachers College at Columbia University in New York Osborne taught at Lincoln Hospital School for Nurses in the Bronx Later she was hired by Harlem ...

Article

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 ...

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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 ...

Article

Amber Karlins

was born in Rome, Georgia, to Emory Leonard Tolliver, a hotel bellhop, and Susan Turner Tolliver. Though she was born in Georgia, Melba was raised in Ohio. After graduating high school, she moved to New York City, where she was given a scholarship to study nursing at New York University (NYU). Though she was bright and extremely capable, even graduating with honors, she did not particularly like nursing. After graduating from NYU, she took a job as an operating room nurse, but her heart wasn’t in it. She spent every spare moment she had pursuing a career in acting and taking classes at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She did some commercial work but never found much success as an actress. So in 1967 she decided to explore the world of television She began working as a secretary at ABC and what she had intended to be a ...

Article

Alyce Faye Wattleton was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the only child of Ozie Walton, a seamstress and minister, and George Wattleton, a factory worker. She graduated from high school at the age of sixteen and attended Ohio State University, from which she received a degree in nursing in 1964. She later entered Columbia University to pursue a master's degree in maternal and infant care. At Columbia—during a time when almost all abortions were illegal—her patients included many girls and women who had attempted to abort their pregnancies, often with catastrophic results. Wattleton soon became active in Planned Parenthood. In the late 1960s, she headed a local chapter in Dayton, Ohio, dramatically expanding its services to women and children as well as its donor base. In 1978, she was named president of the PPFA.

At the time Planned Parenthood was known mainly for its several ...