Medical and Dental Associations

Who were some of the early leading black nurses?

Among the notable black nurses were Martha Minerva Franklin and Mabel Keaton Staupers. Franklin (1870–1968) was the force behind the founding meeting of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN) in 1908, and was its founding president. A civil rights activist, she was one of the first black nurses to campaign publicly and nationally for parity for black nurses. Franklin’s goals became the NACGN’s goals: “to eradicate discrimination in the nursing profession, develop leadership among black nurses, and promote higher standards in administration and education.” Staupers (1890–1989), who became president of the NACGN in 1949, was the association’s executive secretary from 1934 to 1949. She led a decades-long protest by black nurses who sought full integration into the mainstream nursing profession. Staupers became best known for the leadership role that she took in desegregating the Armed Forces Nurse Corps in World War II.


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