Did you know that abolitionist leaders Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth both worked as nurses during the Civil War? Can you name the first black nurse to join the American Red Cross Nursing Service? (Answer: Frances Reed Elliott Davis, in 1918.) Were you aware that Dr. Phoebe Dauz Williams was the first Filipino-American nurse to become a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN)? Or that the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) was founded in 1975 by Ildaura Murillo-Rohde, RN, PhD, FAAN?

Minority nurses in the United States have a rich and proud history dating back to at least the mid 1800s, yet most people have little knowledge of these courageous nurses’ exceptional accomplishments and the barriers they overcame to achieve their rightful place in the nursing profession. But Marie O. Pitts Mosley, RN, EdD, PNP, is planning to change all that. The noted nursing scholar and historian is currently at work on a landmark book that will celebrate the history and leadership of nurses of color in America.

Tentatively titled Despite All Odds, the book will feature personal stories, biographies and photographs of minority nurses that will document, in Mosley’s words, “our oral histories of courage, hope, perseverance, faith and fortitude.” She envisions a wide international audience for this long-overdue book, including elementary and high schools, nursing schools, other university programs, historians, nurses and the general public.

Mosley, an associate professor at Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing in New York, says this first-of-its-kind history is intended to “recognize all [minority nurses] who overcame great obstacles. . .who have a song to sing, a story to tell or a vision for all people of the Earth. This book is a celebration of your strength,” she adds. “It pays tribute to you and is dedicated to all nurses of color.”

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Would you like to be part of this exciting project? If you are a minority nurse with “a song to sing, a story to tell,” or a photograph to share, Dr. Mosley would like to hear from you so that your experience can be included in Despite All Odds. For more information about how to submit material for the book, contact her at 2541 Seventh Avenue, Apt. 8K, New York, NY 10039, (212) 926-1647, email [email protected].

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