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*On this date in 1911, Frances Rains was born. She was a Black nurse, community worker, educator, and businesswoman.
From Minneapolis, Minnesota, as a young girl, Frances Mary McHie wanted to become a social worker mainly due to her exposure to a local activist and businesswoman W. Gertrude Brown. After high school, she attempted to enroll at the University of Minnesota’s School of Nursing. After being turned down because she was Black, Minnesota senator Sylvanus A. "S.A." Stockwell and Mrs. Brown brought the issues and young Frances before the Minnesota State Legislature.
It was here in 1929 where she was immediately admitted to the school and soon became the first Black woman to graduate from the school in 1932. That same year she received her Bachelor of Science degree from the Universities school of Education. An Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority member, after graduation McHie became the first Black employed by the Minneapolis General Hospital as a supervisor of the outpatient clinic. She was the first Black to work with the visiting Nurses Association in New Orleans, Louisiana and one of 12 nurses who broke the color barrier at Herman Kiefer Hospital in Detroit, MI. Soon afterward, McHie served as Associate Professor and assistant to the Director of the School of Nursing at Tuskegee Institute and Nashville's Meharry Medical College and director of Nursing Service for their Hubbard Hospital.
After marrying Dr. Horace Rains in 1951 the couple eventually had two children. In 1953, she was one of the first Blacks to teach at the school of Nursing at the University of Southern California General Hospital in Los Angeles. After assisting her husband’s private medical practice in Long Beach for several years, Rains became a real estate broker in 1972 soon owning a Century 21 franchise. Active in the Southern California community, she organized the Long Beach National Council of Negro Women and served as an officer for the Long Beach NAACP.
Rains was a former board member of the Long Beach Children’s Psychiatric Clinic, American Nurses Association, Harbor Area Chapter of Links, and National Council of Negro Women. She was a member of Grant AME church for nearly 50 years and is a former Sunday school teacher there. In her later years, she was chairman of the Board of Directors of the Long Beach Community Improvement League. Frances Rains died on May 21, 2006, after a stroke earlier that spring. Her nephew is Benjamin Mchie, founder of African American Registry®
In 2009, the University of Minnesota School of Nursing celebrated its Centennial by placing her photograph and biography in the Universities Weaver-Densford Hall, the school's nursing building. In 2019 her nephew Benjamin Mchie established the Frances McHie Nursing Scholarship at the University of Minnesota.
Mchie Family Collection
c/o The African American Registry
PO Box 19441
Minneapolis, MN 55419