Compiled By NAN Staff Writer
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Weds. June 23, 2022: She fought for the inclusion of black nurses in World War II to the Army and Navy as the executive secretary of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NAGCN) and continued fighting for the full inclusion of nurses of all races in the U.S. military, which was granted in January 1945.
She was Caribbean immigrant Mabel Keaton Staupers. Keaton was born in Barbados and migrated to the United States at age 13 with her parents and attended the Freedmen’s Hospital School of Nursing in Washington, DC, where she graduated with honors. After graduation, she worked as a private duty nurse.
Staupers faced with racial discrimination after graduating from nursing school, became an advocate for racial equality in the nursing profession. While working as a private nurse in Washington and New York, Staupers helped establish the Booker T. Washington Sanatorium.
It was the first and one of the few in-patient centers founded to care for African Americans who had tuberculosis, at a time when other hospitals refused black medical experts’ privileges or staffing positions.
Staupers served as Superintendent for the Booker T. Washington Sanatorium from 1920 to 1922.
She used her influence and management skills and became executive secretary of the Harlem Committee of the New York Tuberculosis and Health Association a position she held for twelve years. In December 1935, Staupers attended a gathering of African American women leaders, organized by Mary McLeod Bethune to establish the National Council of Negro Women.
In 1948, the American Nursing Association followed suit and allowed African American nurses to become members. In 1950, Staupers dissolved the NAGCN because she believed the organization had completed its mission. In 1951, the NAACP honored Staupers with the Spingarn Medal in recognition of her efforts on behalf of black women workers. Staupers died at the age of 99 in 1989.