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Staupers with students
*This date in 1890 marks the birthday of Mabel Keaton Staupers. She was a Black leader in breaking down racial barriers in American nursing.
Mabel Staupers was born in Barbados, West Indies. At 13, she immigrated with her parents to Washington, D.C. In 1917 she graduated from Freedmen's Hospital School of Nursing and was employed at the Harlem Tuberculosis Committee.
Early in her career, Staupers was confronted with the prejudice and dehumanizing discrimination affecting the lives of black Americans in nursing. All training schools and medical associations were segregated at the time. In 1934, Staupers was the executive secretary of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses, a position she held for twelve years. She increased membership, established a citizen advisory committee, built coalitions with other medical groups, and effectively dismantled many racial barriers.
Honored with numerous awards, Mable Keaton Staupers' efforts helped black nurses gain acceptance into the educational, institutional, and organizational system of American nursing.
Black Women in America An Historical Encyclopedia
Volumes 1 and 2, edited by Darlene Clark Hine
Copyright 1993, Carlson Publishing Inc., Brooklyn, New York