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



From Homsexuality to Black Women on Welfare: Lee Daniels degradation of black women!

lee daniels

I was never going to see the Butler movie by Lee Daniels. I get tired of seeing us depicted in movies as stereotypical characters who are wholesome and good, but help white people discover themselves and become better, while we serve them in servitude. However, I am very appalled to the recent words of the film’s director Lee Daniels.


In an interview with Larry King, Daniels was expressing his experience growing up as an African-American gay man. The conversation went South. View his interview here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rrr7izsQa-Q

He then started describing how he walked into a gay mens’ health crisis center in New York City. He states “I expected to see a room full of gay men, but there are nothing but women that are there – black women with kids, I thought I had walked into the welfare office, but they service black women with AIDS, why?”

“Because black men can’t come out. Why? Because you simply can’t do it. Your family says it, your church says it, your teachers say it, your parents say it, your friends say it, your work says it. And so you’re living on this DL thing and you’re infecting black women.”

Although I understand Daniels’ sentiment with black men infecting black women with HIV/AIDS, why compare black women in a clinic, treating themselves and their children to black women being in a welfare office. There is no comparison.


One thing that pisses me off with welfare is that it is believed that we African-Americans, especially black women, are on welfare. Yes, I know statistics will tell you one thing. But, what are statistics? Statistics are numbers generated by people in power to gear the greater population into believing stereotypes, ideas, and garner certain beliefs about different groups of people, medicine, trends etc. That is the real definition of statistics. I mean who are participating in these surveys and tests? Have you ever been called up? Think about it.


Also, the people who use up welfare the most are Latinos, Jews and Europeans. Yes, I said it. It is so much easier for these groups of people to get welfare than it is for us. Jews get their welfare and other aids in the synagogue. Who else has this privilege. Not African Americans! Latinos and Europeans come here aided by their people in offices, and higher positions who pull down the curtains of difficulty and make it easier for them to get welfare. I do not say this to be bitter. These groups of people are organized and unify to help each other gain resources and opportunities. That is a beautiful thing. That is something that is definitely lacking in the black community. However, I say this because the hype should not be believed that we African Americans, specifically black women possess more welfare than anyone else. I know black women who have had five kids, and no job, but due to the difficulty of obtaining welfare have not been able to gain it. Thankfully she is working now. Family, statistics are not all true. They are made up to control your thinking and beliefs. V for Vendetta anyone. That was a great movie. If you have not seen it, see it. It discusses how a lot of corruption and beliefs are created.


Back to it…

I am tired of black men stomping on black. Yes, Daniels made a point about how homosexuality is different in African-American culture. He also sheds light on the struggle, homosexual black men experience. However, why try to highlight your struggle as a minority-oppressed person by bringing down another group of minority oppressed people, black women? It makes no sense and diffuses the positivity he was trying to highlight in his interview. We black women have NOTHING! Let me repeat NOTHING to do with a black mans struggle growing up gay.

We black women are not a stomping ground. We should not be used so easily as a punching bag to make a point, no matter how positive the point may be. I will not, and do not support anyone black or otherwise that seeks to benefit from the degradation of black women. None of us should. Lee Daniels is another African-American man, who unfortunately instead of trying to uplift ALL of his people, steps on those who have supported on him. We black women need to demand more, and hit them where it hurts. Deny them from flourishing with our economic power. Support those who support you and this man does not support us. –M. Millie


The Life of Anna Arnold Hedgeman!

Anna Arnold Hedgeman (real picture)

Today we celebrate the life of Anna Arnold Hedgeman. Hedgeman is not known by many, but her accomplishments are grand and important. She was an American civil rights leader, politician, educator, and writer. EVERYDAY is Black History.

Anna Arnold was born in Marshalltown, Iowa, to an encouraging family that believed in the power of education and hard work. She was encouraged by her parents to seek educational greatness. She attended Hamline University, a Methodist College in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and was the college’s first African-American student. In 1922, Hedgeman became the first African-American graduate, having earned a B.A. degree in English. Inspired by the passion of W. E. B. Du Bois, she decided to succeed as an educator. For two years, Hedgeman taught English and History at Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi, where she experienced the humiliation of segregation for the first time.

Anna and A. Phillip

Anna and A. Philip Rudolph

She then worked for the YWCA as an executive director in Ohio, New Jersey, Harlem, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn. In 1944, she became the executive secretary of the National Council for a Permanent Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC). In 1946, Hedgeman served as assistant dean of women at Howard University. In 1954, she became the first African American woman to hold a mayoral cabinet position in the history of New York. She served as an assistant and advisor to Mayor Robert F. Wagner from 1954 to 1958.

Anna and Mayor

Anna and Mayor Robert F. Wagner

In 1958, she held a position as a public relations consultant in Fuller Products Company. She became an associate editor and columnist for New York Age in 1959. Then she held a position as a Coordinator of Special Events for the Commission of Religion and Race of the National Council of Churches in 1963. It is in 1963 that she met A. Phillip Rudolph and Bayard Rustin and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She worked with Rudolph and Rustin in helping plan logistics for the March on Washington of 1963. In later years, she owned Hedgeman Consultant Services in New York City.

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Anna and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Hedgeman has served as teacher, lecturer, and consultant to numerous educational centers, boards, and colleges and universities, particularly in the area of African-American studies. She traveled to Africa and lectured throughout the United States, primarily in black schools. She has stressed to students the importance of understanding history as a basis to achieve equality. Hedgeman held honorary doctorates from both Howard University and Hamline University. She also is also the author of two books The Trumpet Sounds (1964), The Gift of Chaos (1977), as well as and articles in numerous organizational publications, newspapers, and journals.


Anna Arnold Hedgeman is another unsung black female pioneer and heroine. She is a black woman who knew her worth, and cold not be held bond by her race or gender. We can all learn from this black women. Your race and gender does not have to stop you from reaching the highest of heights. You can become great too. Hedgeman also used education and a desire to attain success to aid her in her life. She also demonstrated great skill and work ethic, for others recognized her work and she gained numerous opportunities because of it. Family, know that when you use education and hard work, success will come your way. Build a reputation of excellence, paired with your education. Achievement will follow you and you will find that life’s hurdles will never set you back far enough, for you have the power and will to overcome. Learn from the life of Anna Arnold Hedgeman. Know your history, gain your education and work hard. You will become limitless. ~Know Your Worth~

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