As a African-American registered nurse, I find it important to pay homage to those who paved the way by breaking down barriers and forcing out inequality. I attended the historically black college, Hampton University, formerly the Hampton Institute. This college experience provided me with a great education in nursing science and a rich education in African American History. I have the honor of being a part of an influential nursing magazine, so it is incumbent upon me that I share some of the history that allowed me to work in the capacity that I do today..
African American Nursing History Timeline
1855-1856: Mary Grant Seacole is denied the opportunity to enlist Crimean War . She travels to Crimea herself and establishes boarding houses where sick and wounded soldiers from both sides of the war can be treated.
1861 – 1865 Harriet Tubman served as a nurse during the American Civil War and used her knowledge of herbal medicine to treat wounded soldiers on the island of Port Royal off the coast of South Carolina. After the Civil War, Tubman helped found a home for the elderly.
1879: Mary Eliza Mahoney becomes the first black to graduate from an American nursing school. She is known as the first professional black nurse in America.
1881: The first school of record for black student nurses is established at Spelman Seminary (renamed Spelman College) in Atlanta, Georgia.
1891: The Kings Chapel Hospital for Colored and Indian Boys, Abbey Mae Infirmary, and the Hampton Training School for Nurses were started on the campus of Hampton Institute. Alice Bacon was instrumental in starting the Hampton Training School for Nurses. The school was commonly called Dixie Hospital, and its first graduate was Anna DeCosta Banks.
1891: Dr. Daniel Hale Williams establishes the Provident Hospital and Training School for Nurses, the first black-owned and first interracial hospital in the United States.
1908: The National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN) is established.
1918: Eighteen black nurses admitted to the Army Nurse Corps after the armistice of World War I and assigned to Camp Sherman, Ohio, and Camp Grant, Illinois.
1932 : Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc (ΧΗΦ) is a professional association for registered professional nurses and student nurses. Chi Eta Phin is a sorority that both women and men may join. Chi was founded due to concerns of the founder about the restrictions in employment of black nurses to segregated facilities and to positions where there was little or no chance of advancement
1941: Lieutenant Della Raney Jackson becomes the first black nurse to enter the military service during World War II.
1951 :NACGN- National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses was dissolved when it’s members voted to merge with the American Nurses Association.
1967: Lawrence Washington became the first male ever to receive a regular commission in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps.
1971: National Black Nurses Association was founded by Lauranne Sams, former dean and professor of nursing at Tuskegee University
1979: Brig. Gen. Hazel W. Johnson-Brown becomes the first black woman in the Department of Defense to become a brigadier general and the first black to be chief of the Army Nurse Corps.
1991: Brig. Gen. Clara Adams-Ender becomes the first black woman and nurse to be appointed commander general of an Army post. As the highest-ranking woman in the Army, she commanded more than 20,000 nurses serving in the Persian Gulf War.
1992: State Senator Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) is elected to the U.S. House of Representatives—the first nurse, black or white, elected to Congress.
Sources: Aetna Inc., and Duke University Medical Center Library, Nursezone , Scrubs Mag , NBNA.org , HamptonU.edu