Complete A-Z list

Complete list of sources

Recent Additions / Updates

About NKAA

NKAA Brochure

African American Library Directors in the USA

Links of Interest

staff only

University of Kentucky Libraries

Notable Kentucky African Americans Database


Return to search page.

Allensworth, Allen [Allensworth, California]
Birth Year : 1842
Death Year : 1914
Allen Allensworth was born a slave in Louisville, KY, the son of Levi and Phyllis Allensworth. He escaped and became a nurse during the Civil War and later joined the Navy and became a chief petty officer. After the war, he returned to Kentucky and became a schoolteacher, an ordained minister, and a delegate to the Republican National Conventions in 1880 and 1884. He was appointed chaplain of the 24th Infantry by President Cleveland and received promotion to lieutenant colonel. In 1890, Allensworth moved to California and established a company to assist African Americans in their migration to California. The town of Allensworth was developed, the first and still the only California town founded by African Americans. Today the area where the town once stood is Colonel Allensworth State Historical Park. Allen Allensworth was the husband of Josephine Leavell Allensworth, also a Kentucky native. For more see Dictionary of American Negro Biography, ed. by R. W. Logan and M. R. Winston; "Rev. Allen Allensworth, A.M." on pp.198-199 in Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in KentuckyHistory of Allensworth, CAFriends of Allensworth; and for more about Allen Allensworth's military career see his entry in On the Trail of the Buffalo Soldier by F. N. Schubert.

See photo image of Allen Allensworth on p.189 in Golden Jubilee of the General Association of Colored Baptists in Kentucky, at the NYPL Digital Gallery.
Subjects: Communities, Education and Educators, Migration West, Military & Veterans, Parks & Resorts, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents, Nurses
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Allensworth, California (no longer exists)

Banks, Johnella Barksdale
Birth Year : 1929
Death Year : 1990
Banks was born in Hopkinsville, KY, and reared in Detroit, MI. She was a graduate of Wayne State University (BA), Provident Hospital School of Nursing (Chicago), Boston University (MA), and Catholic University (Ph.D.). Banks was a nursing faculty member at Howard University and lived in Silver Spring, MD. She is considered one of the African American nurses who achieved greatness: her career is included in the written history of Black nurses. Banks was a past president of the National Black Nurses Association of the Greater Washington Area. The Johnella Banks Memorial Scholarship was named in her honor, and the Johnella Banks Member Achievement Award is presented by the Association of Black Nursing Faculty, Inc. For more see "Johnella Banks, 61, Howard professor," The Washington Times, 12/12/1990, Metropolitan section, p. B4; and Johnella B. Banks in The Color of Healing; a history of the achievements of Black nurses, by B. F. Morton.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Migration North, Nurses
Geographic Region: Hopkinsville, Christian County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan / Silver Spring, Maryland

Barrens, Esther Maxwell
Birth Year : 1882
Death Year : 1954
Barrens was born in Pulaski, Tennessee and is buried in Nashville, Tennessee. She was the daughter of Fannie and Washington Maxwell, and the wife of Kentucky native Charles Barrens. Esther graduated in the first Nurse Training Class of Meharry Medical College in 1906. She came to Louisville in 1907 and took the job of Head Nurse Supervisor of the Negro Division of Waverly Hills Sanatorium, a tuberculosis hospital. Due to the shortage of nurses in the Negro Division, Barrens was often the only nurse on duty; therefore, she began training nurses to work in the hospital. She also pushed for Negro children in the hospital to also receive education and to be included in activities. Barrens worked with the Sunday school groups and the Sunshine Center Tuberculosis Clinic, established in 1927. She was a member of the Executive Board of the Meharry Alumni Association and served on the Kentucky State Board of the Parent-Teacher Association. Barrens was employed at Waverly for 28 years. She had married Charles Barrens in 1908, and by 1910 her parents and one other family member had moved to Louisville, KY, and according to the U.S. Federal Census, they all shared a home. Information submitted by Mr. Shirley J. Foley (Ms. Barrens' nephew). For more information on Esther Barrens' employment at the Waverly Hills Sanatorium, contact the University of Louisville Archives and Records Center.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Sunday School, Nurses, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents, Tuberculosis: Care and Deaths
Geographic Region: Pulaski, Tennessee / Nashville, Tennessee / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Brown, Viola Davis
Birth Year : 1936
Viola D. Brown was born in Lexington, KY. In 1955, she was the first African American admitted to a nursing school in Lexington. Brown attended the Nazareth School of Nursing, which was affiliated with St. Joseph Hospital, where Brown would be promoted to hospital supervisor in 1960. Her promotion was another first for African Americans in Lexington. In 1972, Brown and Lizzie Conner were the first two African American RNs to receive advanced practice as Nurse Practitioners in Lexington. In 1980, Gov. John Y. Brown, Jr. appointed Viola Brown to the position of Executive Director of the State Office of Public Health Nursing; she held the post for 19 years. Viola Brown was inducted into the University of Kentucky College of Public Health Hall of Fame in 2004. For more see L. Blackford, "Her essay won a prize, but she couldn't go to ceremony," Lexington Herald Leader, 09/09/04, Main News section, p. A1; and V. D. Brown and J. Marfall, "Swinging bridges of opportunity and challenges: memoirs of an African American nurse practitioner pioneer on providing primary care for the underserved," Journal of Cultural Diversity, vol. 12, issue 3 (Fall 2005), pp. 107-15.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Appointments by Kentucky Governors, Nurses, Higher Education Before Desegregation, Kentucky, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky

Bryant, Carolyn
Birth Year : 1934
Carolyn Bryant, MSN, RN, was born in Lexington, KY, and grew up in Muskegon Heights, MI. She is a founding member of the the Detroit Black Nurses Association, June of 1972. The organization is a chapter of the National Black Nurses Association, Inc. Beginning in 1957, when Carolyn Bryant received her nursing license, she worked as a nurse in various locations and has been a college nursing instructor. Bryant is also a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. She served as Vice President for Nursing in the Reserve Officers Association, and was the Burn Educator for the U.S. Army Reserve Corps. For more see the Carolyn Bryant entry in The Color of Healing by B. F. Morton. For more about the Detroit Black Nurses Association, Inc. see the entry on p.62 in Maricopa County, AZ Sheriffs by Turner Publishing Company.
Subjects: Migration North, Military & Veterans, Nurses
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Muskegon Heights, Michigan

Crumlin, James A., Sr.
Birth Year : 1914
Death Year : 2004
Reverend James A. Crumlin, Sr. was born in South Carolina. He came to Louisville, KY in 1944. A graduate of Howard University, he earned his law degree from the Robert H. Terrell Law School in Washington, D.C. Crumlin is remembered for a number of successes, including the appeal to the Kentucky Legislature to amend the state law for African American doctors and nurses to be admitted to state hospitals for training. The bill was passed in 1948 while Crumlin was president of the Louisville NAACP. Crumlin was also one of the lawyers for the plaintiff in the lawsuit to integrate the University of Kentucky. He was the lawyer for a number of school integration cases in Kentucky. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan; and B. Paulastaff, "Rev. James A. Crumlin, Sr. dies," Courier-Journal, 08/28/2004, News section, p. O7B.

Access Interview Read about the James A. Crumlin, Sr. oral history interview available at the University of Kentucky Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, item record in the SPOKE Database.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Lawyers, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Nurses, Court Cases
Geographic Region: South Carolina / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Dyer, Deborah L. and Jacqueline Smith (1956-2005)
In 1991 Deborah Dyer and Jacqueline Smith started Central Kentucky Research Associates, Inc. (CKRA) with a $500 investment. The first independent medical research company in Kentucky, CKRA today has offices in Lexington, Richmond, and Mt. Sterling, Kentucky. The company, which conducts drug studies for pharmaceutical companies, is one of the few owned by women (or African American women) who are not doctors. In 1999 the company was named a Small Business of the Year Finalist, and the owners were named finalists for Working Woman Entrepreneurial Excellence Awards in 2000. Smith was awarded an Outstanding Alumna Award in 2002 from Eastern Kentucky University. She died in 2005 from a massive stroke while attending a meeting in Florida. Smith was a graduate of Madison Central High School and Eastern Kentucky University, both in Richmond, Kentucky. In 2008, the Jacqueline Yvonne Miller Smith Visiting Professorship was established in the Center for Advancement of Women's Health at the University of Kentucky. For more see V. H. Spears, "A Rock for all those who knew her, Jacqueline Smith: 1956-2005," Lexington Herald Leader, 11/15/2005, City&Region section, p. B1; and "Spotlight on philanthropy" in Advancing Women's Health, issue 6, fall 2008.

See photo image of Deborah Dyer and Jacqueline Smith at the CKRA website.
Subjects: Businesses, Medical Field, Health Care, Researchers, Nurses
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Richmond, Madison County, Kentucky / Mt. Sterling, Montgomery County, Kentucky

General Hospital School of Nursing, Integrated (Louisville, KY)
Start Year : 1954
In January 1954, the registered nurses training program at the General Hospital School of Nursing in Louisville, KY, was integrated. The last issue to be resolved was housing; the incoming Negro students had been encouraged to live at home rather than move into the student nurses home. The integration had come about with the election of Mayor Andrew Broaddus (1900-1972), a Democrat, who was mayor from 1953-1957. Broaddus had pledged to integrate the program if he were elected mayor. Louisville General Hospital was the teaching and research hospital for the University of Louisville Medical School. Dr. Maurice F. Rabb, Sr. had been added to the hospital staff in 1948 as a part-time resident for advanced work in anesthesiology; Rabb had been practicing medicine in Kentucky for 15 years. He was not allowed to eat in the cafeteria of General Hospital. In 1950, the first Negro student had been accepted into a practical-nurses training class. But prior to 1954, Negro applicants to the registered nursing program had been encouraged to go elsewhere. Once it was mandated the school accept Negro students for this program, the City-County Board of Health declared that Negro students could live in the student nurses home as well. The first three students were Lillian Delores Foxhill, who would be living at home; Latach Mae Scott, who would also be living at home; and Flora M. Ponder, who would be living in the nurses home. For more information see "Louisville policy unsettled on race," New York Times, 02/04/1949, p. 26; "City Hospital will train Negro nurses," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 12/10/1953; "3 Negro student nurses begin school at General," Courier-Journal (Louisville), 02/06/1954; and the Louisville General Hospital Records, which are available at the University of Louisville Libraries Special Collections and Archives.
Subjects: Education and Educators, Nurses, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Godfrey, Linda R.
Birth Year : 1947
Linda R. Godfrey, born in Lexington, KY, has been a leader on several fronts since graduating in 1965 from old Henry Clay High School [on Main Street], where she was a member of the second integrated class to graduate from the school. Godfrey, a nurse, has worked at several locations in Lexington and is presently a case manager and diabetes nurse specialist at the Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital off Cooper Drive, providing outreach and care coordination for returning combat veterans. She is a retired Army Nurse, having served (1985-2000) with the 475th MASH hospital unit out of Frankfort, KY. Godfrey also taught health education classes at multiple military hospitals throughout the U.S. and in Japan, Ecuador, and Barbados. She also served as an Army nurse in Saudi Arabia and Iraq during Operation Desert Storm in 1991. She received an Army commendation medal and has received a number of awards for her work with veterans, including the Federal Woman of the Year in 2000. In Lexington, Godfrey was a board member of Hospice when the program was being developed in 1977, coordinating the volunteers. For 13 years she taught pediatric nursing and basic medical surgical nursing at Kentucky State University and today is a part-time lecturer for the clinical labs and nursing programs. Godfrey also teaches health education and diabetes classes throughout the year at local churches. She has served two terms as president of the Northside Neighborhood Association, one of the oldest and largest neighborhood associations in Lexington. Godfrey, one of the original members, is past chairperson of the Historic Preservation Commission of the Fayette-Urban County Government and is completing her second term as vice-chair of the Fayette-Urban County Planning Commission. Linda Godfrey is a graduate of Appalachian School of Practical Nursing [which was on Warren Court in Lexington, KY], where she earned her LPN degree in 1968. In 1972, she earned her RN degree from Lexington Community College [now Bluegrass Community and Technical College] and in 1980 graduated with honors from the University of Kentucky College of Nursing. She is a charter member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, Delta Psi Chapter. Godfrey, who grew up in Kinkeadtown, attends the Mount Calvary Baptist Church in Pricetown, founded by her great grandfather, Matthew Garner. Pricetown is one of the Negro hamlets founded at the end of slavery. This entry was submitted by William Anthony Goatley with detailed information from Linda Godfrey.


Access InterviewLisen to the online interview with Lind R. Godfrey (Part 1 and Part 2), interviewed by Mike Jones, 07/27/2002, at the Kentucky Historical Society website.
Subjects: Civic Leaders, Communities, Education and Educators, Kentucky African American Churches, Medical Field, Health Care, Military & Veterans, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Women's Groups and Organizations, Nurses, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents, Grandparents
Geographic Region: Kinkeadtown, Pricetown, Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Iraq / Japan / Ecuador / Barbados

Green, Nancy
Birth Year : 1834
Death Year : 1923
Born a slave in Montgomery County, KY, Nancy Green was the world's first living trademark: she was the original "Aunt Jemima." It has been said that Green did not develop the pancake mix, while an article in the Negro Star newspaper states that a milling company in St. Louis obtained the pancake recipe from Green, but there are no details as to the agreement [source: "Mrs. Nancy Green of "Aunt Jemima" fame, is dead," Negro Star, 09/14/1923, p.1]. Nancy Green did not own the pancake company. Green was first introduced as Aunt Jemima at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. She received a lifetime contract and traveled all over the country promoting Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix until her death in 1923. The pancake company was sold to the Quaker Oats Company in 1925. The image of Aunt Jemima on the pancake box continued. During the 1950s, there was outspoken criticism. Since that time the image has received a number of upgrades. Nancy Green left Kentucky for Chicago when she was hired as a nurse for the Walker family whose children grew up to become Chicago Circuit Judge Charles M. Walker and Dr. Samuel Walker. Green was the first African American missionary worker and an organizer of the Olivet Baptist Church, one of the largest African American churches in Chicago. She died in a car accident in 1923. For more see Nancy Green, the original "Aunt Jemima", an African American Registry website; Notable Black American Women. Book III, ed. by J. C. Smith; and "Aunt Jemima, victim of auto," Urbana Daily Courier, 10/27/1923, p. 7 [full-text of article in Illinois Digital Newspaper Collection].

  See image of Nancy Green as Aunt Jemima at Wikipedia.
Subjects: Businesses, Freedom, Migration North, Ministers, Pastors, Preachers, Religion & Church Work, Nurses
Geographic Region: Montgomery County, Kentucky / Chicago, Illinois

Harris, Emma E. "The Mammy of Moscow"
Birth Year : 1875
Death Year : 1937
Harris, an actress and singer, told others that she was from Kentucky, but she gave Augusta, GA as her birth place on her 1901 U.S. Passport Application. She was to return to the U.S. in two years, but Harris lived much of her life in Moscow, Russia. She left the U.S. from Brooklyn, NY, where she had been a church choir director. She left with the "Louisiana Amazon Guards [or Gods]", a six-woman theater troupe, with a seventh woman as a reserve. The group toured Germany. Harris later became a member of the "Six Creole Belles" [which may have been the same group under a different name and management]; they toured Poland and Russia before disbanding, and all but two members returned to the U.S. in 1905 because of the revolutions taking place in Russia. Harris then formed the "Emma Harris Trio," a singing group that continued performing in various European cities. Years later, the trio broke up and Harris was stuck in Siberia, where she taught English for a living before returning to performing as a concert soloist in Russia. Harris had studied voice at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. She also served as a nurse in the Ukraine during the Civil War, worked with the American Relief Association, and later was a speaker for the International Red Aid. Harris remained in Moscow with her husband and manager, Ivanovitch Mizikin. She knew Stalin and was a friend of Maxim Gorky's. She spoke fluent Russian and gave speeches against the Scottsboro Boys case when she was over 60 years old. Harris was also an excellent cook of culturally diverse meals and liked to entertain; she had many connections for getting food during the period when food was rationed in Moscow. Harris returned to the U.S. in 1933 and died in Brooklyn in 1937. For more see "The Mammy of Moscow" in The Collected Works of Langston Hughes, vol. 9: Essays on Art, Race, Politics, and World Affairs, by L. Hughes, et al.; and R. E. Lotz, "The Louisiana Troupes in Europe," The Black Perspective in Music, vol. 11, issue 2 (Autumn 1938), pp. 133-142.
Subjects: Activists, Civil Rights, Actors, Actresses, Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Education and Educators, Migration North, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Nurses, Minstrel and Vaudeville Performers
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Augusta, Georgia / Moscow, Russia, Europe / Brooklyn, New York City, New York

Hines-Martin, Vicki
In 1994, Vicki Hines-Martin was the first African American Ph.D. graduate from the University of Kentucky College of Nursing. She is the founder of the Kentucky Chapter of the National Black Nurses Association (KYANNA). She is a professor in the University of Louisville School of Nursing and the director of the Office of Disparities and Community Engagement. Hines-Martin earned her BSN and MAEd from Spalding University, and her MSN from the University of Cincinnati. See African American Caregivers and the Severely Mentally Ill (dissertation) by V. P. Hines-Martin; Nurses' Knowledge of Obesity and Nurses' Attitudes Toward Obese Persons (thesis) by V. P. Hines-Martin; and P. Hines-Martin and Alona H. Pack, "Teaching the fluid process of cultural competence at the graduate level : a constructionist approach," a chapter in Transforming Nursing Education: the culturally inclusive environment, by S. D. Bosher and M. D. Pharris.

See photo image of Vickie Hines-Martin at the U of L website.
Subjects: Nurses
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Johnson, Christine Claybourne
Birth Year : 1909
Death Year : 1999
Johnson was born and raised in Versailles, KY, the daughter of Mattie A. Williams Claybourne and Braxton D. Claybourne. She graduated from the Versailles Colored high school in 1927. She won a gold medal for her poetry. She lived in Detroit in the 1940s, where she worked with the National Youth Administration and established day care centers in churches. Johnson attended nursing school and studied music before earning her undergraduate degree in biology from Loyola University in 1948. She earned a master's degree in education from DePaul University in 1950. Johnson was a member of the Nation of Islam and was principal and director of the University of Islam Primary School in Chicago. She traveled to Africa, Asia, and Europe. Johnson also published plays and poems; her poem, "Cadence," was published in Outlook Magazine. She was the author of Poems of Blackness and three children's textbooks: Muhammad's Children, ABC's of African History and Masks. For more see "Christine C. Johnson" in For Malcolm, by D. Randall and M. G. Burroughs; and A. Beeler, "Longtime teacher Christine Johnson," Chicago Tribune, 03/22/1999, Metro Chicago section, p. 7.
Subjects: Authors, Education and Educators, Migration North, Musicians, Opera, Singers, Song Writers, Poets, Children's Books and Music, Nurses, National Youth Administration (NYA)
Geographic Region: Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky / Detroit, Michigan / Chicago, Illinois

Jones, Daisy
Daisy Jones was the first African American nurse in Colorado. She and her family had escaped from slavery in Kentucky and made their way to Canada, where Jones received her nurse training. She moved to Denver, CO, in 1904. Jones was also one of the organizers of the NAACP in Colorado. Her forceps and medicine bag are on display at the Black American West Museum in Denver. For more see "Black Women in Colorado: two early portraits," Frontiers: a Journal of Women Studies," vol. 7, issue 3 -- Women on the Western Frontier (1984), p. 21; and photo image of Daisy Jones on p.18 in African Americans of Denver by R. J. Stephens, L. M. Larson, and The Black American West Museum.

Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Migration West, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), Nurses
Geographic Region: Kentucky / Denver, Colorado

Malone, Beverley L.
Birth Year : 1948
Beverley L. Malone was born in Hardin County, KY. She is a past chief executive officer of the National League of Nursing. Her prior employment includes the position of General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing in Great Britain (2001-2006), the world's largest nursing union, with over 300,000 members. The organization was founded in 1916 and the headquarters is located in London. Malone was the first "foreign" person to head the organization. In her prior post, she had been appointed deputy assistant secretary for Health and Human Services during the Clinton administration. She was president of the American Nurses Association (ANA), 1996-2000, the second African American to head the organization. She was a dean, vice chancellor, and professor at North Carolina A&T State University. Malone is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati (BS and Ph.D.) and Rutgers University (MS), For more see "New CEO of National League for Nursing has a real passion for nursing education..." in AORN Connections, vol. 5, issue 5 (2007 May), pp. 12-13; C. Parish, "Beverly Malone leaves with a rallying cry: Keep on fighting," Nursing Standard, vol. 21, issue 14-16 (12/13/2006), pp. 14-16; and Beverly Malone at

Subjects: Education and Educators, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration Outside the U.S. and Canada, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents, Union Organizations, Nurses
Geographic Region: Hardin County, Kentucky / England, Europe

Merritt, Mary Eliza
Birth Year : 1881
Death Year : 1953
Born in Berea, KY, the daughter of Thomas and Josie Merritt. Mary Merritt was the first African American nurse licensed in Kentucky. She had received her nurses training at Freedman's Hospital in Washington, D.C. She received the Mary Mahoney award for distinguished service in 1949 and was awarded a certificate of merit by President Wilson. For more see The Fascinating Story of Black Kentuckians, by A. A. Dunnigan.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Appointments by U.S. Presidents/Services for U.S. Presidents, Nurses
Geographic Region: Berea, Madison County, Kentucky

Morrow, Dorothy
In 1977 Morrow was the only African American woman in Kentucky holding a city council post. She was a head nurse at Lynch Medical Center and the first African American woman on the Lynch City Council. Morrow had been appointed to fill a vacancy in 1974, then was elected in 1977. For more see "Mayor, 45 councilmen are black city officials," in 1978 Kentucky Directory of Black Elected Officials, Fifth Report by the Commission on Human Rights, p. 20; and African American Miners and Migrants: the Eastern Kentucky Social Club, by P. J. Obermiller.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Nurses
Geographic Region: Lynch, Harlan County, Kentucky

National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN)
Start Year : 1908
End Year : 1949
The National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN) was founded in 1908 by Martha M. Franklin, and the first annual meeting was held in Boston in 1909. Members were nurses who had graduated from a training program. In 1918, the U.S. Secretary of War authorized a call to Colored nurses to come into national service. Nurses registered with the American Red Cross Society were allowed to render service to Colored Army enlistees. Colored nurses were assigned to six base hospitals, including Camp Taylor in Louisville, KY. By 1940, there were 94 professional Colored nurses in Kentucky (graduates and students): 91 women and three men. In 1949, Mrs. Alida C. Daily was president of NACGN when the national conference was held in Louisville, KY. It was during that meeting that NACGN accepted the suggestions presented by the American Nurse's Association (ANA) that it assume responsibility of NACGN and that the association be integrated. The NACGN archives were placed in the New York Public Library. For more see p. 378 of Scott's Official History of the American Negro in the World War, by E. J. Scott [available full-text on Google Book Search]; M. K. Staupers, "Story of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses," The American Journal of Nursing, vol. 51, issue 4 (Apr., 1951), pp. 222-223; E. M. Osborne, "Status and contribution of the Negro nurse," The Journal of Negro Education, vol. 18, issue 3 (Summer 1949), pp. 364-369; "New York Library receives NACGN documents," The American Journal of Nursing, vol. 54, issue 5 (May 1954), pp. 546-554; and No Time for Prejudice, by M. K. Staupers.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Nurses
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Ponder, Flora B.
Birth Year : 1930
Born in Elkton, KY, Ponder was head nurse of Recovery and the Intensive Care area at Louisville (KY) General Hospital from 1957-1959 and head nurse at the Louisville and Jefferson County Health Department from 1959-1965. She was director of nurses at Park-Duvalle Community Health Center. Ponder also assisted in establishing health services in western Louisville. In 1955, Ponder was one of the first African American registered nursing students at Louisville General Hospital, and was the first to live in the student nurses home. She is the wife of Raymond Ponder. For more see Profiles of Contemporary Black Achievers of Kentucky, by J. B. Horton; and the NKAA Database entry for Louisville General Hospital School of Nursing, Integrated.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Nurses, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents, Community Centers and Cultural Centers
Geographic Region: Elkton, Todd County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Porter, Ora F.
Birth Year : 1880
Death Year : 1970
Ora F. Porter was born in Sugar Grove, KY. In 1916 she became the first registered nurse in Bowling Green, KY. She received her nursing degree from Tuskegee University School of Nursing [now Tuskegee University, School of Nursing and Allied Health]. She was the daughter of Sarah J. Porter. For more see Kentucky Women, by E. K. Potter; Women in Kentucky; and the oral history interview by Robert J. Gates (FA168) with Oral F. Porer's nieces, Alice Ruth and Shella Proctor, the file and recordings are available at Wesern Kentucky University, Manuscripts and Folklife Archives.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Nurses
Geographic Region: Sugar Grove and Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky

Potter, Mary E.
Birth Year : 1888
Potter was born in Bowling Green, KY. A physician, she was a faculty member of the Louisville National Medical College. Potter organized the Fraternal Hospital Training School for Nurses in 1922 and founded and organized the Women's Business, Civic and Political Club in 1925, which met in Louisville and published the Women's Business, Civic and Political Journal. She was the wife of Joseph U. Potter, an automobile mechanic who was born 1891 in KY. In 1920, the couple was renting a home on Walnut Street in Louisville, according to the U.S. Federal Census. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1927.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Women's Groups and Organizations, Nurses, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky / Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky

Sales, Mary E. A.
Birth Year : 1892
Born in Lexington, KY, Sales was head nurse of the Indianapolis Sisters of Charity Hospital from 1918-1920, then did private nursing before becoming a school nurse in Indianapolis, beginning in 1924. Sales was also a teacher of home nursing with the American Red Cross and attended the international Congress of Nurses in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1949. She was president of the local Colored Graduate Nurses Club and chair of the health committee at the Phillis Wheatly Y.W.C.A., and held a number of other posts within nursing and health organizations. For more see Who's Who in Colored America, 1950.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Women's Groups and Organizations, Nurses, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Indianapolis, Indiana / Stockholm, Sweden

Sleet, Anne
Birth Year : 1932
In 2007, Anne Sleet became the first African American woman mayor of Perryville, KY. A former nurse and caterer, Sleet had also been a member of the city council prior to becoming mayor, succeeding her late husband, Raymond Sleet, who had been elected to the council four times. Anne Sleet was re-elected to the council for three consecutive terms and was unopposed when she ran for mayor. For more see G. Kocher, "Perryville's next mayor - Anne Sleet adds new chapter to family's proud history in Boyle County," Lexington Herald-Leader, 11/27/2006, Main News section, p. A1.  See also the Sleettown entry.

    See Anne Sleet interview [#210] at "Connections with Renee Shaw," 02/10/2007, a KET (Kentucky Educational Television) website.
Subjects: Bakers, Cooks and Chefs, Medical Field, Health Care, Politicians, Politics, Appointments & Elections, Mayors, Nurses
Geographic Region: Perryville, Boyle County, Kentucky

Spears, Jewell A. King
Birth Year : 1933
Spears was the first African American director of nursing at the Reid Hospital in Richmond, IN. She was promoted to the position in 1977, later becoming vice president of the hospital before retiring in 1995. In 1974, she was chosen by Indiana Governor Otis Bowen as the only registered nurse on the Emergency Medical Services Commission; Spears became president of the commission in 1977. She was also president of the Wayne County Welfare Board. Jewell Spears was born in Hazard, KY, the daughter of Janie and Saul King (1902-1968). The family moved to Richmond, IN, in the 1940s. Jewell Spears is a graduate of Earlham College. She was married to Glen A. Spears (1928-2007). For more see "Earlham grad becomes Reid's director of nursing," Palladium-Item, 02/27/2008, Region section, p. 3A; the Jewell A. Spears entry in The Black Women in the Middle West Project, by D. C. Hine, et al.; and "Glen A. Spears," Palladium-Item, 10/14/2007, Obituary section, p. 3C.
Subjects: Welfare (Social Services) Organizations, Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Nurses, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Hazard, Perry County, Kentucky / Richmond, Indiana

Tuberculosis Movement (Louisville, KY)
In the late 1880s the mortality rate among African Americans due to tuberculosis (or consumption) was three times higher than that for whites, especially in the South. It soon became evident that tuberculosis was an overall health problem not restricted to any one race, and though the Tuberculosis Movement remained segregated, there were more joint efforts between the races. In Louisville prior to 1909, the Anti-Tuberculosis Association established the Committee on Conference and Prevention of Tuberculosis among the Colored People. A visiting nurse was hired and her duties included educating African Americans in Louisville about tuberculosis. The visiting nurse was seen as a self-help answer, an idea that grew to become a major part of the nationwide Tuberculosis Movement for Negroes. In 1914 a training program for visiting nurses was established at the Negro Mercy Hospital in Philadelphia. In 1928 the Julius Rosenwald Fund sponsored a training program for 200 African American nurses to serve in the rural South. For more see M. M. Torchia, "The Tuberculosis Movement and the Race Question, 1890-1950," Bulletin of the History of Medicine, vol. 49, issue 2 (Summer 1975), pp. 152-168; and The Tuberculosis Movement: a public health campaign in the progressive era, by M. E. Teller.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Nurses, Tuberculosis: Care and Deaths
Geographic Region: Louisville, Jefferson County, Kentucky / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Turner, Eat Campbell
Turner was a freed African American nurse from Kentucky. She was the wife of Thomas Turner, who had not been enslaved; he was born in Alberta, Canada. They were the parents of Charles Henry Turner (1867-1923), an entomologist, naturalist, scientist, and zoologist. The family lived in Cincinnati, Ohio. For more see Distinguished African American Scientists of the 20th Century, by J. H. Kessler.
Subjects: Freedom, Mothers, Nurses
Geographic Region: Kentucky

Wilkes, Gracie Rice
Birth Year : 1912
Death Year : 1998
Gracie Rice was born in Kentucky and grew up in Lexington. In 1930, she was one of the three African American women admitted to the City Hospital nurses' training program in Cleveland, OH, according to "MetroHealth celebrates Black History month by remembering its history," Call & Post, 02/20/2008, p. 2. The article goes on to say that Gracie Rice learned about the program through the black newspaper, Dayton Forum. The three nursing students graduated in 1933 and were hired by City Hospital: Gracie Rice, Dorothea Davis, and Edna Wooley. According to Gracie Rice Wilkes's entry in the Ohio Death Index, she had more than five years of college and was a registered nurse. Prior to the late 1920s, African Americans in Cleveland had not been admitted to hospital internship programs or nurses training programs. The integration of the nursing program at City Hospital came as a result of the political power gained by Blacks at the end of the 1920s; during their election, three city council members had promised that, if elected, they would fight to end the discrimination at City Hospital. The editor of the Cleveland Gazette claimed the fight was led by the newspaper, and the move was opposed by the "Blossom Triplets": city councilmen Clayborne George, Roy Bundy, and Larry Payne. For more see Cleveland: a metropolitan reader, by W. D. Keating, N. Krumholz and D. C. Perry; "Read! Read!! The rounder on what's doing," Cleveland Gazette, 10/15/1938, p. 2; A Ghetto Takes Shape: Black Cleveland, 1870-1930, by K. L. Kusmer; and Making a Place for Ourselves: the Black Hospital Movement, 1920-1945, by V. N. Gamble.
Subjects: Medical Field, Health Care, Migration North, Nurses, Hospitals and Clinics: Employment, Founders, Ownership, Incidents
Geographic Region: Lexington, Fayette County, Kentucky / Cleveland, Ohio


Return to the search page.