Tag: black women

Creating Community and Finding Connection: A Black Nurse’s Experience in Vietnam, 1966–67

Nobody wanted Elizabeth Allen in Vietnam. From her master’s advisor who questioned why on earth she would want to enlist in the first place, to the Air Force that dragged its feet on her application, to the Army, which initially wanted to assign her to teach at a military-sponsored nursing program at the University of… Read more →

Tracing the Red in “Redbone”: Colorism and Misogyny in Black History

“My peanut butter chocolate cake with Kool-Aid” – this line from the 2016 song “Redbone” by Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover) describes the appearance of a light-skinned Black woman with a bright red undertone to her skin and hair: a “redbone.” The figure of the untrustworthy “redbone” woman is a common theme in contemporary rap… Read more →

Alvenia Fulton, Soul Food, and Black Liberation: An Interview with Travis Weisse

In Nursing Clio’s first annual best article prize, honorable mention went to Travis Weisse’s excellent and groundbreaking “‘Alone in a Sea of Rib-Tips’: Alvenia Fulton, Natural Health, and the Politics of Soul Food.” Known as the ‘Queen of Nutrition,’ Alvenia M. Fulton was a Black alternative health practitioner and health food promoter in Chicago from… Read more →

Talking Back to the NIH

In January 2018, Serena Williams went public about how she almost died after giving birth to her daughter. Williams has a history of blood clots, and when she recognized the signs of a clot after her C-section, she walked up to her nurse and asked for exactly what she needed. But as she tells it,… Read more →

All My Babies and Black Midwifery: An Interview with Wangui Muigai

Wangui Muigai is the winner of the inaugural Nursing Clio Best Journal Article Prize for “‘Something Wasn’t Clean’: Black Midwifery, Birth, and Postwar Medical Education in All My Babies,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine, vol. 93, no. 1 (2019), 82–113. An assistant professor of history and African and African American studies at Brandeis University,… Read more →

BMI, Race, and Bodies: How Race Science Reemerges in the Unlikeliest of Places

The connection between Black female bodies and ill health, fatness, and inferiority marks the historical record on race and health. The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a prominent contemporary marker of this linkage. While there are strong arguments for and against the contention that there is a causal connection between BMI and ideal health, these… Read more →

Understanding Her Position and Place: An African American Nurse at the Stewart Indian School, 1908-1917

In September 1908, Allie Helena Barnett left her family in Atchison, Kansas, and traveled to Carson City, Nevada, where she had accepted a job as a nurse at the Stewart Indian School. Barnett, an African American woman, had graduated from nursing school at Provident Hospital in Chicago in 1906. At the Stewart Indian School, she… Read more →

How Perceived Racial Differences Created a Crisis in Black Women’s Healthcare

In 2016, a black baby born in Charlottesville, Virginia, was almost ten times more likely than a white baby to die in their first year of life.1 That same year, researchers from the University of Virginia revealed that nearly 21% of first-year medical students at the school believed that black patients had stronger immune systems… Read more →

Carrying Community: The Black Midwife’s Bag in the American South

The classic 1953 documentary film All My Babies features the life and work of Mary Coley, a legendary African-American “granny” midwife.1 The film follows Coley as she travels around her rural Georgia community carrying her ever-present black satchel. In one memorable scene, the exhausted midwife returns home after a long night of “catching babies.”2 As… Read more →

Ruth Taylor Ballard: A Nursing Pioneer In the Jim Crow South

In 1954, the public school system of Mobile, Alabama, launched its first training program for black nursing students. It was a one-year Licensed Practical Nurse Program (LPN). Before then, an African American who wanted to study nursing had to travel to places like Selma, Montgomery, and Tuskegee. Few had the means or the ability to… Read more →