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Tue, 04.10.1827

Eliza Bryant pioneered Black nursing homes

Eliza Bryant

The birth of Eliza Bryant in 1827 is celebrated on this date. She was a Black abolitionist and businesswoman.

She grew up on a plantation in Wayne County North Carolina her parents were Polly Simmons, a slave, and her master. In 1848 her mother was freed and her family moved north, purchasing a home in Cleveland, Ohio with funds from her master. Young Bryant’s education is unknown but she was a pioneer in the movement to welcome and assist Blacks to the Cleveland area, particularly those moving from the southern states through the Great Migration after emancipation.

It was here that she learned of the special needs of elderly Blacks left alone due to slavery. At the time facilities denied access to Blacks and around 1893, Bryant and others established a home for Black elders.  In January 1895 a board of trustees was named and the “Cleveland Home for Aged Colored People” opened on August 11, 1897.

Bryant married and had several children. She died on May 13, 1907 in Cleveland, Ohio and is buried in Woodland Cemetery.

Reference:
WOMEN IN HISTORY
P.O. Box 770682
Lakewood, OH 44107I

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