Tag: black women

An Untold Story: Black Maternal Mortality in the United States

In April 2016, Kira Johnson, 39, and her husband were excited to bring their second child into the world. After delivering via C-section, her husband noticed something wrong. He alerted the medical staff that there was blood in Kira’s catheter. While the staff promised to immediately do blood work and order a CT scan, it… Read more →

Our Work is Not Complete Yet: The Tuberculosis Nurse Training Program at Virginia’s Piedmont Sanatorium

In May 1940, the Piedmont Sanatorium in Burkeville, Virginia, graduated eight African American nurses with advanced training in tuberculosis care. A “Class History” and “Class Prophecy” presented at the commencement ceremony articulated the value of educational attainment, individual determination, and collegial support. As discussed in the Nursing Clio series, Beyond Florence, the history of nursing… Read more →

Vanguard: The Fights that Connect Black Women Activists across More Than Two Centuries

My undergraduate and MA adviser, Dr. Angela Howard, argued that women across time and space often have remarkably similar experiences if you zero in on major events in their lives. These include first marriages, first babies, menopause, or widowhood. She encouraged me to compare women at these moments of their lives even if they occurred… Read more →

Informed Transitions

Transitions can be hard, especially when one has spent decades teetering on shifting sand. With my menopause comes an emptying nest and a great and painful purge of my reproductive potential, accumulated clutter, dreams, and fears. I am 55 this year, African American, a tenured college professor, a widow, and single mother of two sons. I have… Read more →

Black Before Florence: Black Nurses, Enslaved Labor, and the British Royal Navy, 1790–1820

Throughout the eighteenth century, the British Royal Navy embarked on a scheme of hospital construction in the Atlantic World. The largest hospitals were in the British Isles, but those that dealt with the highest mortality were in the Greater Caribbean. Most naval medical history focuses on male medical officers, while most nursing history examines the… Read more →

Marie Branch and the Power of Nursing

In June 2020, when millions took to the streets in the midst of a pandemic to protest police attacks on Black lives, public statements began to trickle out of major nursing organizations. The American Nurses Association (ANA) called racism “a public health crisis,” while the American Association of Colleges of Nursing declared that “racism will… Read more →

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

For the first annual Nursing Clio Prize for Best Journal Article, 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… 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 →