Black Angels tells the true story of 300 black nurses who changed the course of history, beginning in 1929 when white nurses staged a walk out at Staten Island's 2000-bed TB sanatorium, threatening New York with a public health catastrophe. City health officials made a radical decision to sanction a national call for 'colored nurses'. Lured by the promise of good pay, education, housing and most of all, a rare opportunity to work in a hospital free of quotas and segregated wards, 'Black Angels' from all over the country boarded trains and buses to enter wards that held both hope and danger. Their triumphant story, bringing together medicine, politics, racial strife, women's rights and cutting-edge science, has up until now been almost completely ignored. Maria Smilios has been working with one of the Black Angels - Virginia Allen, now aged 84 - as well as ex-patients whom the Angels cared for.
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Date of Publication: 05/10/2023