Famous Nurses Who Made History
Susie King Taylor
First African American U.S. Army Nurse in Civil War (1848 to 1912) Susie Baker King Taylor, daughter of slaves, was freed by their owner Mr. Grest by sending her to her grandmother Dolly Reed in Savannah. While with her grandmother, Susie learned how to read and write with the help of some friends. When Civil War broke, Susie, who was then 14 years old, fled to St. Simons Island with her uncle. They were taken under the custody of Union Forces that was then enlisting black soldiers for a new regiment. She was assigned as laundrywoman, but within days became teacher to freed African American students through the help of some soldiers as well.
From being a laundrywoman and teacher, King also became a nurse, tending to the colored soldiers that have been fighting for freedom along their side. The memoirs of her life can be read in the Reminiscences, the story of her experiences in camp with the 33rd United States Colored Troops, which she wrote and published in 1902. Ten years after publishing her memoirs, Susie King Taylor died at the age of 64.