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Sun, 12.05.1915

Ruby S. Jackson, Public Health Nurse, born

Grady Hospital

*The birth of Ruby S. Jackson is celebrated on this date in 1915. She was a Black Public Health Nurse.

From Eufaula, Alabama, Ruby Sherman Jackson moved to Atlanta in 1932 to continue her high school education at Booker T. Washington High School, as education for Blacks ended in the 10th grade in Eufaula. She earned a diploma in nursing in 1937 from the Municipal Training School for Colored Nurses at Grady Hospital, Atlanta. The graduation ceremony was held at Big Bethel Methodist Episcopal Church on May 13, 1937.

Employed at Grady Hospital after graduation, Ms. Jackson applied for a position in the public health department in Atlanta when it first opened to Black nurses. She and about seven others were among the first African American nurses employed by the City of Atlanta. Before being employed in public health, Jackson, with a Social Security-funded scholarship, enrolled in a six-month public health course at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond.

On her return, she interned at the Muskogee Health Department in Columbus, Georgia, for eleven months. Thus, educated and trained, she began her employment in the Atlanta Health Department. In that segregated era, the white public health nurses had offices on the 8th floor of City Hall, while the Black nurses were relegated to the basement. She first served the northwest area of Atlanta, attending to only Black families, some living in garage apartments at the back of the estates of the wealthy families for whom they worked.

Later she served in the Adamsville and Neighborhood Union health departments until her retirement in 1976. As one of the African American nurse pioneers in public health in the city of Atlanta, Jackson experienced segregation and integration, serving Black clients under the supervision of white nurse supervisors and later under a black nurse supervisor she highly admired, Carrie Lou McCarter.

She was active in the all-black American state nurse organization, the Georgia State Association of Colored Graduate Nurses, and her Alumnae organization at Grady Hospital. She recalled when African American nurses joined the previously all-white Georgia State Nurses' Association. Ruby S. Jackson died in 1994.

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