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Nursing Civil RightsGender and Race in the Army Nurse Corps$
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Charissa J. Threat

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252039201

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252039201.001.0001

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“The Negro Nurse—A Citizen Fighting for Democracy”

“The Negro Nurse—A Citizen Fighting for Democracy”

African Americans and the Army Nurse Corps

(p.25) 2 “The Negro Nurse—A Citizen Fighting for Democracy”
Nursing Civil Rights

Charissa J. Threat

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the efforts by black female nurses and white male nurses to claim a space for themselves in a profession that relegated them to the margins. It begins with a discussion of the founding of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses and the Army Nurse Corps (ANC), along with an overview of healthcare and home-front racial politics during World War II. It then turns to nurse shortages during World War I and World War II and proceeds by analyzing the World War II integration campaign by African American female nurses within the larger context of the civil rights movement. In an effort to break down racial barriers, the chapter shows that African American nurses co-opted traditional gender conventions to make the claim that the sex of the nurse, not race, should determine nursing care for soldiers. It also explores how African Americans used wartime rhetoric about equality and democracy on behalf of their campaign for equal rights, justice, and opportunity.

Keywords:   male nurses, Army Nurse Corps, healthcare, World War II, nurse shortages, integration campaign, African American nurses, civil rights movement, gender, African Americans

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