During World War II, the United States Navy remained the last military branch to resist the admission of Black soldiers and volunteers. On this day in 1945, Phyllis Mae Dailey became the first Black nurse inducted into the Navy, setting the course for another history-making mark.
Dailey attended the Lincoln School of Nursing in New York and Teacher’s College at Columbia University. Like many nurses and young people, she hoped to answer the call to join the military. Dailey attempted to join the Air Force but was denied. Eventually, she made it to the Navy Nurse Corps, knocking down a barrier for three other women.
Edith Mazie Devoe, of Washington, D.C., Helen Fredericka Turner, of Augusta, Georgia, and Eula Loucille Stimley, of Centreville, Mississippi were the following three women to join the Nurse Corps. Devoe eventually became the first Black nurse to join the regular U.S. Navy ranks in January of 1948, and also the first to serve outside the continental United States.
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