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Teri B. Weil

military leader, nurse, educator, and entrepreneur, was born Clara Mae Leach Adams in Willow Springs, North Carolina. Her parents, Otha Leach and Caretha Bell, were sharecroppers, and she was the fourth of ten children. Her parents were staunch supporters of education and made sure that all of their children knew this. Her parents further instilled in the children a sense of self-respect and a belief that with knowledge they could do anything.

As a child growing up in a family of sharecroppers, Adams-Ender realized early that she wanted more out of life. Her perseverance in continuing her education while missing school to work the farm with her family was evident when she graduated second in her class at the age of sixteen. Although she enrolled in a nursing program, her first career choice was to be a lawyer. However, in 1956 her father believed that ...

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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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Mary Krane Derr

nursing educator and administrator, was born in Jacksonville, Florida. Little information is available about her parents or other aspects of her personal background. When she was nine years old Bessent lost her mother. Her grandmother then raised her, instilling in her a strong belief that self‐giving is the measure of personal worth. After graduating from high school in Jacksonville, Bessent worked as a laboratory and X‐ray technician, an unusual job for a black woman of her time and place but one that led to her groundbreaking career in nursing.

During and after slavery African Americans especially women often served as lay healers and tenders of the sick Starting in the nineteenth century as nursing became a more formally organized profession the color line sliced through it Even though black communities urgently needed more health care black nurses were denied membership in the American Nurses Association ANA educational opportunities and all ...

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Caryn E. Neumann

nurse, educator, and leader, was born Mary Elizabeth Lancaster in Baltimore, Maryland, the fourth child of John Oliver Lancaster, a musician, and Adeline Beatrice Swann, a homemaker. In 1918 the Lancasters divorced and M. Elizabeth went to live with her mother's sister in Washington, D.C., where she attended public school. The family had little money and Carnegie worked part-time at a whites-only cafeteria. She graduated from Dunbar High School at age sixteen. Like many girls who were good at a science but who lacked the money to pay for college, Carnegie pursued a diploma in nursing at a hospital-affiliated school. Such schools typically gave students small stipends as well as free tuition in exchange for their labor on hospital wards. Carnegie added two years to her age to get admitted to the all-black Lincoln School of Nursing in New York City. She graduated in 1934.

The hospitals ...

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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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Althea T. Davis

nursing leader, was born in New Milford, Connecticut, the daughter of Henry J. Franklin, a laborer and a private in the Twenty-ninth Connecticut Volunteer Division during the Civil War, and Mary E. Gauson. Reared in Meriden, Connecticut, during the post–Civil War period, Franklin lived in a town that had few African Americans. She graduated from Meriden Public High School in 1890. In 1895, having chosen nursing as a career, Franklin entered the Women's Hospital Training School for Nurses in Philadelphia. She graduated in December 1897, the only black graduate in the class, and went on to find work as a private-duty nurse in Meriden and thereafter in New Haven, to which she relocated.

Franklin s interest in organizing the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses NACGN was prompted by the difficulties black women often faced That black women were rarely accepted into schools of ...

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Adria N. Armbrister

nurse-midwife, was born in Pennsylvania. Little is known of her family or early life. She is best known for her work with African American midwives in Arkansas during the 1940s; her efforts are credited with having reduced drastically the race-based disparities in maternal mortality in that state at mid-century. Hale trained in and practiced public health nursing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, before attending the Tuskegee School of Nurse-Midwifery in Alabama. Hale, who received a certificate in midwifery from the program, was one of thirty-one African American women graduates of the Tuskegee school, only the fourth such education program in the United States. Opened in 1942 the school was also the first postgraduate nurse-practitioner course in midwifery for African American students. It awarded both master's degrees and certificates, but it closed in 1946 as did several other programs for African American nurse midwives begun at that time due to white ...

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Laticia Ann Marie Willis

nurse, social activist, and hospital founder, was born Millie Essie Gibson in Nashville, Tennessee, one of five children of Henry Gibson, a blacksmith, and Nannie Gibson. Millie spent her childhood in Nashville, having attended Pearl Elementary School from 1888 to 1892 and graduating from Fisk University's Normal School in 1901. She moved to New York City in order to study nursing at the Graduate School of Nurses there. Later, in 1927, she received her BA degree from Fisk. On 20 December 1905 she married John Henry Hale, who taught at Nashville's Meharry Medical College. They had two daughters, Mildred and Essie.

Hale returned from New York committed to improving health care for Nashville's African American community. On 1 July 1916 she founded the Millie E Hale Hospital which became the first year round hospital in the city to provide health care ...

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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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Christopher J. Neumann

autobiographer and black women's rights activist, was born Jane Edna Harris in Pendleton, South Carolina, the daughter of Edward Harris and Harriet Millner, sharecroppers. Following her father's death due to jaundice when she was ten years old, Jane and her three siblings were distributed briefly among the homes of various relatives. His death and the ensuing dispersal of her nuclear family were especially difficult for Jane, in part because she had customarily been “father's ally in his differences with mother” (A Nickel, 12) but also because she now had to forgo formal schooling to earn her keep in Anderson, South Carolina, as a live-in nursemaid and cook. Although treated so poorly by her mistress that white and black neighbors alike protested, she was taught to read and write by the eldest daughter.

Harris entered Ferguson Academy (later Ferguson-Williams College) in 1896 graduating four years later ...

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Susan M. Reverby

public health nurse, nursing instructor, and the “scientific assistant” for forty years (1932–1972) for the infamous Tuskegee Syphilis Study, was born in Early County, Georgia, the oldest of three children of Albert Rivers, a sawmill worker and farmer, and Henrietta Rivers. In the small and rural southwest Georgia county where Eunice Rivers was raised her father did what he could to protect and promote his children s way in the world especially after the death of his wife when Eunice was fifteen One night falsely assuming that Albert Rivers had been involved in aiding another black man s flight from the legal authorities armed members of the Ku Klux Klan fired upon Rivers s house Albert Rivers shot back Less dramatically though no less importantly Rivers took his daughter from school to school in various Georgia towns so that the most qualified black ...

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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 ...

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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

nursing leader, was born Estelle Massey in Palestine, Texas, the daughter of Hall Massey and Bettye Estelle (maiden name unknown). At the time of her birth, many black Americans lived in conditions of poverty and sickness that were comparable to those during slavery. Because black doctors were scarce, black nurses provided the bulk of health care for their communities. Thus for working-class and poor black women, nursing offered an appealing way to embark on a profession, to enter the middle class and gain prestige, and to help others of their race at a time when segregation was common and racism virulent.

As a young woman Osborne considered becoming a dentist like her brother He dissuaded her however arguing that she did not have enough money for dental training and that in any case nursing was a more suitable job for a woman At the time the profession was racially ...

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Althea T. Davis

nursing administrator, was born in Zanesville, Ohio, the daughter of William H. Pinn and Lizzie Hicks. She attended the John Andrews Memorial School of Nursing at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and graduated on 24 May 1906. She later organized an alumni association, of which she served as president for many years. She returned to Tuskegee every April to participate in the Free Clinic, a community health fair. After graduation Pinn went to Montgomery, Alabama, as head nurse of the Hale Infirmary; she remained in this position for three years.

In 1908 Pinn joined the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN), newly organized by Martha Franklin to eradicate segregation and the discriminatory practices against black nurses, who faced differences in pay, lack of respect, and exclusion from local, state, and national nursing organizations. The new organization published its meeting and member activities in the Journal of the ...

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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 ...