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Phyllis Mae Dailey (2nd from the right)
*The birth of Phyllis Mae Dailey is celebrated on this date in 1920. She was a Black nurse and naval officer.
From New York City, she was a graduate of Lincoln School of Nursing in New York and a student of public health at Teachers College, Columbia University. Dailey initially wanted to enter the U.S. Army, but her race denied her admission. On March 8, 1945, Daley became the first African American Navy nurse to serve in World War II. She said she knew the racial barriers would break eventually and that with more qualified African American applicants, the U.S. military would have to be forced to add them to the ranks.
In an interview with The AFRO shortly after her induction, Daley said she hoped her appointment would encourage other Black women to join the ranks. "I want to be just another nurse accepted into the service, and I'll do a good job. That's what's expected of me. You can't keep us back any longer; the new world is coming." Daley was a member of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses. This group waged an unrelenting fight to recognize African American nurses and their equitable inclusion in all nursing careers.