Not unlike the recent COVID epidemic, TB or tuberculosis raged across the United States, killing over 5 million Americans in the early 20th century. Fearing a public health crisis in New York City, in 1929, officials made a call for Black nurses seeking to work on the front lines and promising them good pay and an escape from Jim Crow. The Black Angels follows the intrepid women who risked their lives caring for the city’s poorest—1,800 patients at Staten Island’s Sea View Hospital—and aided in the 1951 clinical trial of a breakthrough tuberculosis treatment.
About the Speakers
Author Maria Smilios chronicles the voices of these extraordinary women in "The Black Angels: The Untold Story of the Nurses Who Helped Cure Tuberculosis" (G. P. Putnam’s Sons; on sale: Sept. 19, 2023). Smilios has a Masters of Arts from Boston University in Religion & Literature where she was a Henry Luce Scholar. She worked as Development Editor in the Biomedical Sciences at Springer Science & Media. She has written for The Guardian, American Nurse, and The Jewish Daily Forward among others.
Virginia Allen worked as a nurse at Sea View Hospital (1947-57), is a volunteer at the Schomburg Center and many other not-for-profits, and is a 2005 Staten Island Woman of Achievement.
This event is made possible by the NetVUE Saga Grant and the Lily Foundation, and is in honor of the 80th anniversary of the Evelyn L. Spiro School of Nursing.