Hazel Johnson-Brown: Trailblazing Nurse

hazel-johnson-brownHazel Johnson-Brown was a nurse and educator, who served with the U.S. Army from 1955-1983. She became the first black female general in the United States Army and the first black chief of the Army Nurse Corps in 1979.  She was later promoted to brigadier general, that same year.

Brown was born in Pennsylvania, to a large family. Her interest in nursing developed young.  She applied to the West Chester School of Nursing, but was denied entry because she was African-American. Determined to pursue the field of nursing, she moved to New York City, and enrolled in the Harlem Hospital School of Nursing in 1947. She graduated and worked at Harlem Hospital for three years.

Brown then moved back to Pennsylvania and worked at the medical cardiovascular ward at the Philadelphia Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital and became head nurse within three months. She worked, while completing her B.A. in nursing at Villanova University. While working at the VA, she became interested in the opportunities, and travel of working as a nurse in the Army.

hazel_johnson_brown_webBrown joined the army in 1955, right after President Harry Truman banned segregation and discrimination in the armed services. She was a staff nurse in Japan and Chief nurse in Korea. While in the Army, Gen. Johnson-Brown earned a master’s degree in nursing education from Columbia University in 1963. She also gained a doctorate in education administration from Catholic University of America in 1973, for Brown taught many incoming nurses into the army on procedures, and taught at Walter Reed Army Institute of Nursing.

Brown receiving her doctorate.

Brown receiving her doctorate.

She later became dean and assistant at Walter Reed as well. From 1976-1978, Brown was Assistant Dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing. In 1979 she became the first black female general in the United States Army and the first black chief of the Army Nurse Corps. Brown retired from the Army Nurse Corps in 1983. However, she remained enormously active on nursing’s national stage as a mentor, teacher and advocate.


Brown receiving her promotion to general.

Hazel Winifred Johnson-Brown, was a true trailblazer. She has helped usher in nursing opportunities for black women in the Armed forces with her accomplishments and hard work. Her tenacity never wavered for she was a chameleon, and blended into different facets of nursing. She never lost her desire to expand educationally and occupationally.  Discrimination did not stop her, She found ways to flourish and become better. Family, we must never lose our drive. We must be persistent in following our dreams. Nothing can stop you. We must let the power of our passion propel us into becoming skilled in our field. We are all great, and we can all become greater. The question is are you willing to do what needs to be done to achieve the greatness that is destined for you? ~Know Your Worth~ -M. Millie




columbus day

Although, I love every extra day I have off of work, I am not celebrating today. How can I celebrate a man who laid claim to a land that was not his and was already inhabited by people> How can I celebrate a man who massacred thousands of native people? How can I celebrate a man who set the framework for the slave trade, where thousands of Africans were stolen, brutalized, raped, degraded, and forced to forget their culture, as well as their languages and history. The fact is I can not. There is nothing about this man, that is worth celebrating, let alone having a day to tribute his legacy. This is NO DAY to celebrate. Do not let American racism or European white supremacy fool you to thinking today is a day to celebrate.

Christopher Columbus was a horrible man. Upon having a ship wreck in the Americas he noticed the sweet and humble nature of the Native Americans. He used their welcoming and calm dispositions as the backbone of breaking their society a part. The Europeans brought illnesses, and alcohol. The Europeans brought savageness and corruption to the Americas.


What happened next? The Native Americans were forced into servitude, but guess what too many of them died. The diseases, and violence Christopher Columbus and his gang of abusers brought was too much for the Native Americans. Their food sources diminished. There immune systems weakened by the new illnesses they now had. That is when the Europeans brought over slaves as their new workforce and economic force.


I do not care what they teach in elementary school about Christopher Columbus. We already know that the educational system is rigged to teach white history, to enforce low self esteem, weak minded, yes massah black people and minorities. I am a teacher, I fight against that foolishness everyday. The truth is he was a horrible man. He was a man who begin the term “genocide.” He was a man who made his riches off of the termination and enslavement of races deemed inferior to the white race.

Yes, and white people will always say Christopher Columbus and his crew helped the Native Americans and African Americans. They will say they brought sophistication to savages. They will say they brought medicine. They will say they brought education. They will say they brought religion. You see that is the thinking of many white people, that they are needed in the lives of non whites to help refine them from their beastly ways. SMDH! Africans and Native Americans lived happily in their lands without the help of Europeans. They lived in a society that flourished. They lived in a society that had its own education, religion and culturally practices. If they did not how else would their lands have survived with rich minerals, resources. How else would you have met people in Africa and America that were healthy, organized and had a bountiful land. Invaders that Christopher Columbus and his crew did. They invaded America and helped other European nations invade Africa to rape these people from their land and culture.

slave trade

I will enjoy my day off, because I am a hardworking teacher who deserves a time to rest, and relax. I will not enjoy this day or celebrate it for Christopher Columbus. A man who hurt, and killed so many Native Americans. A man who hurt and killed so many of my ancestors. No thank you. This day is a spit in the face too so many lives, cultures, and histories that have been trampled on or destroyed.

Family, know your history before you celebrate a holiday that was founded on the hate and oppression of black bodies. This day is nothing to celebrate or uphold. Enjoy your day off you deserve it, however know that this man is no hero. He was a tyrant, a killer, and a vicious destructive man. Fuck Columbus day. Yes, sometimes the truth is raw like that. This was and is no man worth celebrating. hISTORY does not lie. It is a reflection of the past, that enables us to understand our present, and predict the future. This day should be abolished. His memory should only serve to highlight one of the biggest and earliest criminals in history  -M. Millie


Latasha Harlins: A name you should know!


Today is the anniversary of the death of Latasha Harlins. Latasha Harlins was a 15 year old girl who was killed wrongfully by a Korean store owner Soon Ja Du. Harlins was accused of stealing, when she actually intended to pay for her beverage. Her death along with the beating of Rodney King was one of the reasons for the L.A. Riots. Everyday is Black History.

Du said she  observed Harlins putting a bottle of orange juice in her backpack. Police say that Du erroneously concluded Harlins was attempting to steal, evidently not seeing the money Harlins was holding. Du attempted to grab Harlins by the sweater and snatched her backpack. Harlins then struck Du with her fist three times, knocking Du to the ground. After Harlins backed away, Du then threw a stool at her. Harlins then picked up the orange juice that dropped during the scuffle, threw it on the counter and turned to leave. Du reached under the counter to retrieve a handgun, then fired at Harlins from behind at a distance of about three feet and shot her in the back of her head, killing her instantly. Du’s husband, Billy Heung Ki Du, heard the shot and rushed into the store. After speaking to his wife, who asked for whereabouts of Harlins before fainting, he dialed 911 to report an alleged holdup. Harlins died with $2 in her left hand.

Du later testified that she acted in self defense, for she feared for her life. However, her testimony was contradicted by the statements of the two witnesses present at the time and the security camera video which showed her shooting Harlins in the back of the head as Harlins was attempting to leave the store. However, the Los Angeles police department ballistics expert report also found that the handgun Du used was altered in such a way that, compared to an ordinary handgun, much less pressure on the trigger was necessary to result in firing.

asian lady killer

Soon Ja Du (child killer)

On November 15, 1991, the jury, believing that Du’s shooting was fully within her control and she fired the gun voluntarily, found Du guilty of voluntary manslaughter, an offense that carries a maximum prison sentence of 16-years in prison. However, trial judge, Joyce Karlin sentenced Du five years of probation, four hundred hours of community service, and a $500 fine.

Judge Karlin suggested that there were mitigating circumstances. She stated, “Did Mrs. Du react inappropriately? Absolutely. But was that reaction understandable? I think that it was.” The judge added, “this is not a time for revenge…and no matter what sentence this court imposes Mrs. Du will be punished every day for the rest of her life.” The court also stated that Mrs. Du shot Ms. Harlins under extreme provocation and duress and probably would never commit a crime again. A state appeals court later unanimously upheld Judge Karlin’s sentence.

Do you see. A black child’s life being lost was upheld in court. It was upheld again twenty one years later when George Zimmerman was left free for killing Trayvon Martin. Her life was deemed worthless. She was not afforded privilege or protection. The death of Latasha Harlins over 20 years ago, shows how we still currently live in an America who does not punish or value the death of helpless black children or youth.


Her name has all, but faded from history, but we should never forget her name. No grievance, misdeed, or hate done to us should be forgotten. This little girls death like the death of Trayvon Martin, was wrong. It was unneeded. Harlins was viewed as a threat, when all she was trying to do was buy juice. History is not always triumphant. It is often sad, and full of hatred. The past helps us understand our present and have a glimpse into the future. There has been a constant progression of disregard for the lives of black youth and children in America. From the killing of Emmett Till, to Latasha Harlins, to Trayvon Martin and countless other innocent black children, America does not care. They show us the middle finger and the door when our black children are in need or have been hurt.

What do we do with this history. We mobilize to create change that will benefit us. We have to arm ourselves with the knowledge to oust this oppression and hatred. We have to know that all of us black men, women, children, elderly are targets. We have to be careful. We have to say, hey let’s stop accepting the scrapes of injustice, and protest and fight. The injustice of America does not change it just gets covered in subliminal and covert propaganda and lies. But, we have the knowledge. We know the past, we are living the present. Use it to build a safe future for you, and your families. Let the death of Latasha Harlins, not be in vain.

Her name is immortalized in the Tupac song “Keep Your Head Up.” Her name and face should be stitched in our hearts as a remainder that being black in America is a fight. A fight we all can survive if we fight, demand more, and keep the knowledge to overcome ever flowing.

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This is a great website that chronicles the abuses of black men, women and children by the police. I am not an advocate of violence or the racism of this article, but the information is great and grand. Check it out here http://waronthehorizon.com/site/?m=201204&cat=1