Famous Nurses Who Made History
Mabel Keaton Staupers
Led Battle to End Racial Prejudice in Nursing (1890 to 1989) Color was the greatest obstacle that had to be faced by every black aspiring to become nurse in the early years. Like Mary Eliza Mahony, Mary Seacole, and Susie King Taylor, Mabel Staupers had to win over her skin color. Mabel Staupers fought hard to finally and fully integrate black nurses into the nursing profession in the U.S., at the time wherein every available medical aid was badly needed, during the Great Depression and World War II.
Mabel Staupers started nursing with noteworthy qualifications as she graduated with honors from the Freedmens Hospital School of Nursing in Washington D.C. in 1917. Staupers became surveyor of health needs before she was given a significant position as executive secretary for the Harlem Tuberculosis Committee, a Tuberculosis and Health Association unit in New York, in 1922. As surveyor, she saw more clearly the wide disparity between black and white, with regards to both access to equitable healthcare services and treatment of black nurses in her professions organizations such as the American Nurses Association and National League of Nursing Education. When she became executive secretary of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses for 12 years, Staupers built a more stable platform for black nurses in the profession by forming coalitions both in nursing and non nursing communities.