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Shari Rudavsky

nursing educator and administrator, was born in Milledgeville, Georgia, the daughter of a poor family about whom nothing is known. In 1901 Andrews applied to Spelman College's MacVicar Hospital School of Nursing. On her application, she asked for financial assistance, explaining that her family could not help her pay. Her mother had a large family to support and “an old flicted husband,” who was not Andrews's father. Andrews also said that she had been married but did not currently live with her husband and expected no support from him. Letters praising Andrews and talking about her “good moral character” that came from the pillars of Milledgeville society proved instrumental in securing Andrews's admission.

In 1906 Andrews received her diploma from Spelman and set upon her life s work During her training she resolved that I wanted to work for my people how or where this was to be done ...

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Sharon E. Wood

former slave, entrepreneur, steamboat worker, nurse, and church founder, was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky, in 1801 or 1804. Although her father was a white man and also her master, his name is unknown. Her mother, Lydia, was his slave. While she was still a child, Baltimore's father sold her to a trader who carried her to the St. Louis area. Over the next few years, she passed among several masters, including the New Orleans judge Joachim Bermudez, working as a house servant for French, Spanish, and Anglo-American households in Louisiana and eastern Missouri.

In New Orleans Baltimore joined the Methodist Church Her piety so impressed one preacher that he purchased her then allowed her to hire her own time and buy her freedom Baltimore worked as a chambermaid on steamboats and as a lying in nurse According to tradition it took her seven years to earn the ...

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Nicolás Ocaranza

slave and wet nurse for the South American revolutionary Simón Bolívar, was born on 13 August 1763 in San Mateo, Aragua State, in the general captaincy of Venezuela. She was best known as la negra Hipólita (Black Hipólita), and lived much of her life in San Mateo State, where the Bolívar family had sugar plantations dependent on black slave labor.

From 1773, at around age 10, Hipólita served as a domestic servant in the household of Juan Vicente Bolívar and Maria de la Concepcion Palacios y Blanco, the parents of Simón Bolívar, who owned over two hundred slaves across several estates engaged in mining and the cultivation of cacao. As was the custom in a society based on slavery, Hipólita took her master’s last name as her own.

In 1781 the Bolívar family moved some black slaves from the Santo Domingo de Macaira estate in Caucagua to the ...

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Caryn E. Neumann

nurse, was born Namahyoke Gertrude Sockum in California as the first of seven children. Her maternal grandmother was German, and her maternal grandfather was African American. Her mother, whose name is unknown, married Hamilton Sockum, a Native American of the Acoma Pueblo tribe of New Mexico. Raised by an aunt, Curtis attended grade school in San Francisco. She furthered her education by graduating from Snell Seminary in Oakland in 1888. After graduation Curtis went to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to visit relatives. There she met Austin Maurice Curtis and eloped with him on 5 May 1888. After the marriage she returned to California while her husband attended Northwestern University Medical School. When the Sockum family learned of the marriage, they sent their daughter to rejoin her husband in Chicago.

While living in Chicago Curtis became absorbed in efforts to uplift the black community She played an instrumental role with Dr ...

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Brandi Hughes

nurse, foreign missionary, and school founder, was born to Anna L. Delaney and Daniel Sharpe Delaney in Fernandina Beach, Florida. Emma Beard Delaney came of age in the postbellum generation that witnessed the collapse of Reconstruction and the fading of the early promise of African American emancipation. Against the rising tide of segregation and racial violence, however, Delaney's family managed to sustain a measure of economic security and educational advancement. Her father, Daniel, held the distinction of being the only African American helmsman commissioned for service on the Revenue Cutter Boutwell, a federal ship that patrolled the ports of Savannah, Georgia; Jacksonville, Florida; and Charleston, South Carolina, as a forerunner of the U.S. Coast Guard. The unique benefits of her father's government employment enabled the Delaney family to support an expansive education for Emma and her sister, Annie. In 1889 shortly after completing secondary classes ...

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Taunya Lovell Banks

in Massachusetts in 1781. “I heard that paper read yesterday that says, ‘all men are born equal, and that every man has a right to freedom.’ I am not a dumb critter; won’t the law give me my freedom?” According to Catherine Sedgewick, Elizabeth Freeman said this to Theodore Sedgewick, a young Massachusetts lawyer who was Catherine’s father.

Elizabeth Freeman, an enslaved black woman also known as Mum Bett (or Mumbet), was born in Claverack, New York, and sold to Colonel John Ashley of Sheffield Massachusetts She approached Theodore Sedgewick after hearing the Declaration of Independence read at the village meetinghouse in Sheffield Another account claims that Freeman overheard talk about the Massachusetts state constitutional provision while waiting on tables There is at least one possible explanation for the conflict over the legal source of Freeman s claim She may have asked about the Declaration of ...

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Elizabeth Freeman was born either in New York or Massachusetts, the daughter of parents probably born in Africa. She apparently became the slave of Pieter Hogeboom of New York quite early. The only trace of her parents is Freeman's bequest to her daughter of two articles of clothing—a black silk gown given to Freeman by her father as a gift, and another gown that supposedly belonged to Freeman's mother. During her lifetime and even after her death, she was known as “Mum Bett” or “Mumbet,” a name derived from “Elizabeth.” Lacking a surname for most of her life, she sued for freedom under the name “Bett” and adopted the name “Elizabeth Freeman” after winning her lawsuit in 1781.

The proposed dates for her birth, which range from 1732 to 1744 are derived from an estimate carved on her tombstone suggesting that she was about eighty five ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

a singer who lived for over thirty years in Russia, both under Tsar Nicholas and during the first decades of the Soviet Union, was born in Augusta, Georgia, according to her 1901 passport application. Some accounts give her year of birth as 1870. Multiple passport applications give 1875. Census records suggest she may have been the daughter of John and Ann Harris, who in 1880 were illiterate tenant farmers in Carnesville, Franklin County, northwest of Augusta. The subsequent history of her older brothers, Andrew J. and Henry Harris, and younger sister Lulu, are unknown.

In 1892Harris married Joseph B. Harris (no relation), moving with him to Brooklyn, where she worked as a domestic and directed a Baptist church choir. She went to Europe in May 1901 as a member of the “Louisiana Amazon Guards,” a singing group assembled by the German promoter Paule ...

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John Ernest

author, businessman, and nurse, was born into slavery near Charlottesville, Virginia, the son of a white man and a black woman, possibly John and Susan Hughes. When he was about six years old, Hughes was sold with his mother and two brothers to Dr. Louis a physician in Scottsville Virginia When Dr Louis died young Hughes was sold with his mother and brother to Washington Fitzpatrick also of Scottsville who soon sent him then about eleven years old to Richmond on the pretense of hiring him out to work on a canal boat Parting with his mother at such a young age was difficult even more difficult was his realization that he would never see his mother again For Hughes this experience became the central symbol of the fundamental inhumanity of the system of slavery a symbol to which he returns at key points in ...

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Caryn E. Neumann

nurse, was born Mary Elizabeth Mahoney in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, the eldest of the three children of Charles Mahoney and Mary Jane Steward (or Stewart). Little is known about Mary Mahoney's parents, North Carolina natives and possibly former slaves who migrated to Boston soon after their marriage. In 1855 the Phillips Street School became the first desegregated school in Boston, and the Mahoneys took advantage of this chance to obtain an education for their daughter. At the age of ten Mary Mahoney entered the first grade and apparently continued her education through the eighth grade, at a time when most women, black and white, had less schooling.

Mahoney became an untrained nurse in 1865 A devout Baptist she may have pursued nursing out of a religious calling as did many women Sometime in the 1870s she obtained a job as a cook washerwoman and scrubwoman ...

Article

Anna B. Coles

Mary (Eliza) Mahoney was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, now a part of Boston. Her parents, Charles and Mary Jane Stewart Mahoney, were originally from North Carolina. Mahoney had two siblings, Ellen and Frank.

It is not known why, when she was almost thirty-three years old, Mahoney chose the career of a trained nurse. Perhaps the graduation of Linda Richards from the New England Hospital for Women and Children in 1873, as America's first trained nurse, inspired her. It is not known whether or not Mahoney's race was an obstacle to her acceptance at the hospital. If it is true that she cooked, washed, and scrubbed before or during her training, such employment was not uncommon. She graduated as a trained nurse in 1879 after completing the sixteen-month period of training, which was no small achievement. Of the forty who applied with her in 1878 only ...

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Darlene Clark Hine

Mary Eliza Mahoney was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, to Charles and Mary Jane Stewart Mahoney. On 1 August 1879, she completed a sixteen-month diploma program in nursing at the New England Hospital for Women and Children in Boston, at a time when the institution’s charter stipulated that each class include only one black student and one Jewish student.

Mahoney registered with the Nurses Directory at the Massachusetts Medical Library in Boston upon receipt of her diploma. Like the vast majority of new nurses, she entered private-duty nursing. Not until after World War II would the majority of nurses secure staff employment in hospitals, and black nurses would wait even longer for hospital staff appointments.

Mahoney was able to secure membership in the Nurses Associated Alumnae of the United States and Canada, organized in 1896 and later renamed the American Nurses Association ANA By the turn of ...

Article

Clare J. Washington

health care professional and union official, was one of five children. Her family lived in a very large tenement building, in what was an often seedy, rough neighborhood on the south Side of Chicago. She attended Chicago public schools, and then she managed to get a scholarship to the University of Illinois. After only six months, she had to return home and find a job. Her brother had been drafted into the U.S. Army, and there was no longer a source of income for the family.

During World War II, nurse's aide positions shifted from being the domain of upper-class women volunteers to poor (often black) women. As shortages and turnover became more prevalent in the hospitals, the conditions of work for these women worsened. In 1946 Roberts became the first African American nurse s aide hired at the University of Chicago Lying In Hospital She felt isolated ...

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Adele Beverly

a public health nurse, was born Jesse Sleet in Stratford, Ontario. She was the seventh of nine children born to Benjamin and Betsy Sleet. Little is known about the Sleet family except that members were always concerned about her health. Her parents pampered her throughout her childhood and teen years because she was frail and was plagued with frequent illnesses. Despite her ill health, however, she managed to complete her education in the Ontario public school system. She always expressed a desire to become a nurse, according to family members—likely a result of her constant childhood illnesses. After graduation from secondary school she was admitted to Chicago's Provident Hospital Training School for Nurses. Provident Hospital's main purpose was to provide a dignified, reputable, and lucrative occupation for women of color.

When Sleet began her nurse s training program Provident had been open for only two years She completed ...

Article

Leyla Keough

Unlike her well-known contemporary, Florence Nightingale, Jamaican-born Mary Seacole has been all but forgotten. In 1857, however, one London Times reporter noted, “Few names were more familiar to the public during the late [Crimean] war than that of Mrs. Seacole.”

The daughter of a Scottish army officer and free black woman in Jamaica, Mary Seacole was celebrated in Great Britain for her work as a nurse in the Crimean War, during which Great Britain and France aided the Ottoman Empire against Russia. Seacole, who learned Folk Medicine from her mother and became skilled at treating tropical diseases in Panama, Jamaica, and Colombia, moved to London in 1854 to enlist in the war effort Because of racial discrimination her attempts to join the British army were thwarted Determined she made her own way to the Crimea and ran an institution called the British Hotel which ...

Article

Aleric J. Josephs

was born Mary Jane Grant in Kingston, Jamaica, to a mulatto Jamaican lodging housekeeper and a Scottish soldier in 1805 She lived the greater part of her life in Kingston and was shaped by the slave society in which she came of age Slavery was not abolished until she was in her thirties so she was aware of what the system entailed Her family however would have been among the privileged brown Jamaicans who were allowed to escape the civil and legal disabilities experienced by the majority of black people in the British Caribbean She was one of three children who were born free and she had the added privilege of a patron possibly a white godmother who facilitated her early privileged upbringing including travels to England when she was in her late teens There is no evidence as to the type of schooling she received but she seems ...

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Jane Robinson

Jamaicannurse, hotelier, entrepreneur, writer, and heroine of the Crimean War. She was born Mary Grant, but no official records of her birth or parentage exist; in her autobiography, Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands (1857), she stated her father to be a soldier of Scottish descent (possibly James Grant of the 60th Regiment of Foot) and her Creole mother to be the keeper of a Kingston hotel, Blundell Hall, and a well‐respected ‘doctress’, skilled in the traditional African use of herbal remedies. Her mother's guests and patients included British army officers garrisoned in Kingston, and Grant enjoyed a close relationship with the Army all her life. She had one sister, Louisa Grant (c.1815–1905), and a half‐brother, Edward Ambleton, who died during the 1850s.

Grant was educated by an elderly woman described in the autobiography as my kind ...

Article

teacher and nurse during the Civil War, was born on the Isle of Wight, one of the Sea Islands off the coast of Georgia, the eldest of nine children of slaves Hagar Ann Reed and Raymond Baker. When Susie was seven years of age, she and one of her brothers were allowed by their master to live in Savannah with their grandmother, Dolly Reed, a free person of color. Determined to see her grandchildren learn to read and write even though state law at the time prohibited the education of blacks, Reed found a way around the legislation; she sent the children to a secret school run by a friend. After two years, Susie attended another secret school followed by private tutoring also illegal By the time she was 12 Susie was one of probably only a few slaves in Georgia who had command of written ...

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Born a Georgia slave, Susie Baker King Taylor was quite young when an arrangement was made sending her to live with her grandmother in Savannah. She learned to read and write from two white children, even though doing so was illegal prior to the American Civil War. When war broke out Taylor moved with her uncle's family to the Sea Islands of South Carolina. The Union Army, fighting for these islands, pressed her into service as a teacher of freed slave children and adults. Soon after, the men in her family joined the Union's First South Carolina Infantry, and she traveled with them as a nurse and laundress. In 1862 she married one of the regiment's sergeants, Edward King. In her memoir, A Black Woman's Civil War Memoirs she recounted the events of her life in camp with the regiment She is the only black woman known ...

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Patricia W. Romero

Taylor is the only black woman to write of her participation in the Civil War, and it is for these experiences that she is remembered. A cursory reading of her memoir, however, reveals something as unique as Taylor’s reminiscences. Through oral tradition, Taylor traces her maternal line back to a great-great-grandmother who, she believed, lived to be 120 years old. According to family tradition, five of this woman’s sons served in the American Revolution, establishing the precedent for patriotism that Taylor would later follow. This female ancestor also must have been among the first African slaves brought to the colony of Georgia, which was founded in 1732. A daughter of this ancestor, Taylor’s great-grandmother, was said to have given birth to twenty-five children, only one of whom was a son. One of her many daughters was Taylor’s grandmother; born in 1820 she was responsible in part for Taylor ...