Lade Magazine Volume 2 - Page 12

Did You Know

by: Tenea WIlborn

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Unspoken Sheroes

...that global pandemics aren’t new? While the current Covid-19 outbreak and its crippling effects may be a novel concept to the modern generation, microscopic enemies have wreaked havoc on society since humanity’s inception. In addition, throughout said times, Black women have served on the front- line during times of war and public health crises. For example, the American Civil War is said to have been the most catastrophic war in the country’s history. The enslavement of millions of African Americans was the primary focus and ironically, it was a former slave who is accredited with being the 1st Black Army nurse.

Her name was Susie King Taylor, and her life’s work, is documented in her memoir

entitled: Reminiscences of My Life in Camp.

The flu pandemic of 1918 is said to have killed an astounding

50 million people worldwide! The astronomical number of infections and deaths opened the door for

Black nurses to serve on US Army military posts. Prior to that, they were barred from the Army’s Nurse

Corp organization. Professional nurses Aileen Cole Stewart and Clara Rollins were amongst the 1st called

into action.

The 21st Century is not without its share of international cataclysmic events and like those before them, today’s sistas aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and plunge head 1st into melees. Women such as Edna Adan proves this point. She’s a Somali nurse who founded and operates the Edna Adan Maternity Hospital in Somaliland, East Africa. The facility trains nurses and addresses women’s health issues. South African born Matshidiso Moeti is another one (in my DJ Khaled voice). She’s a physician who is the

World Health Organization’s 1st female Regional Director for Africa. Last but certainly not least on the list, is Leandris Liburd.

A public health educator, she’s the Associate Director for the Centers for Disease

Control’s Office of Minority Health and Equity. Although the fight against Covid-19 is an uphill battle, the

historical record clearly shows 3 things: The minds of Black women are sharp enough to man battle

stations. The hands of Black women are more than capable of mending wounded soldiers. The hearts of

Black women overflow with love and compassion, even when the world refuses to give credit.

"The hearts of Black women overflow with love and compassion, even when the world refuses to give credit."