The History of The Black Nurses Association

Dr. LauranneSams was born on December 14, 1927 and was the first President of the National Black Nurses Association. She was a faculty member of the Indiana University School of Nursing from 1958 to 1974. This is the position that she held when NBNA was born out of a need to support Black licensed nurses and Black nursing students; but more importantly, as an advocate; a voice for the unmet needs of Black patients; and other minority patients.

Since 1965, Dr. Sams had the conviction that there was a need for an organizedindependent, Black nurses group. In 1970 at the Convention of the American Nurses Association(ANA) in Miami, the late Dr. LauranneSams called a special meeting of all the Black Nurses that were available. They met and discussed their concerns; and wrote a statement for the ANA House of Delegates. Dr. Sams was asked to find a way to keep in touch with those Black Nurses, and to provide a resolution for the organization of a Black Nurses Caucus at the 1972 ANA Convention.

After meeting the many Black Nurses present at the 1970 convention, she decided to push forward on her conviction and called together a group of nurses to talk about the formation of an independent Black Nurses’ organization. It became a Steering Committee under the leadership of Dr. Sams. They met in December1971 in Cleveland, Ohio with a purpose to unify all Black Nurses; to pool their efforts and resources; and to aid in improving the health issues and status of Black people in America.

Simultaneously, in May 1971, Black Nurses in Dade County were planning and organizing a Black Professional Nurses group. Their purpose was to improve working conditions; patient care; recruitment and retention in schools of nursing; and the advancement of Black Nurses within the community. The officers were Jackie Davis, President; Jessie Trice, Secretary; and Willie Pearl Galloway, Treasurer. Members were Sue Harris, Wilhelminia Bentley, Lydia Walker, Eleanor Colemen, Alsada Anders, Anita Small, Mildred Pinkard, Barbara Williams, Florence Bruton, and Bloniva Johnson. Two members of this group, Jessie Trice and Anita Small, also attended the first State Conference in California later that same year.

Initially, meetings were held at Range Funeral Home and later, Lydia Walker opened a hospitality room. Black Nurses worked diligently to organize and recruit members. Workshops and conferences were held. The members of the organization wanted to become involved in health care planning for Blacks, establish and maintain dialogue with black doctors, and become advocates for the community.

In 1972, the Black Professional Nurses’ Association became the Black Nurses Association and a chapter of the National Black Nurses’ Association, Inc. In the same year the organization became incorporated as a non-profit organization in Florida. We have worked and struggled to keep alive the flame lit by the founders of this organization. We need you to help keep this flame burning!
The Miami Chapter Black Nurses Association was officially established in February 1972 and originally named: “Black Professional Nurses Association, Inc.”

In April 1976, the organization was renamed “Black Nurses Association, Inc.” to distinguish ourselves from the many Black Nurses Associations in Florida, we identify ourselves as the Miami Chapter, Black Nurses Association.


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