Proudly honoring some of the incredible nursing and social work pioneers who paved the way for our modern-day Case Manager heroes. 

Mary Seacole (1805-1881) Top-left image, continues clockwise

Mary Seacole travelled the world extensively, nursing cholera patients during an outbreak in Panama. After being rejected for a nursing position in the Crimea. she established the “British Hotel,” which catered to sick and recovering soldiers. She visited battlefields to tend to the wounded and was referred to warmly by soldiers as “Mother Seacole.”


Mary Eliza Mahoney (1845 – 1926)

Mary Eliza Mahoney was the first Black nurse to complete her professional degree in nursing in the United States. She was also one of the first members of the #ANA. An outspoken proponent of basic human rights, Ms. Mahoney also championed the women’s suffrage movement and was one of the first women to register to vote in Boston at the age of 74.


Mary Church Terrell (1863–1954)

Mary Church Terrell was a force to be reckoned with, an educator, social activist, writer, suffragist, and much more. One of the first Black women to earn her college degree in the US, she went on to obtain her master’s degree in 1888. A well-known “influencer” of the time and adept public speaker, Terrell advocated for civil and women’s rights and was one of the charter members of the NAACP.


Adah Belle Samuel Thoms (1870-1943)

Adah Belle Samuel Thoms is recognized for her significant contributions to both nursing and racial integration, including her tireless efforts championing the inclusion of Black nurses in the Red Cross and Armed Forces in WW1.

Her meeting with President Harding ultimately led to the creation of the United States Army Nurse Corps. Ms. Thoms continued to advocate for equality in education, pay, and employment opportunities until her death in 1943.


Edward Franklin Frazier (1894 –1962)

Edward Franklin Frazier’s view of professional social work not only included helping the disenfranchised but also speaking out on the major issues of the day. He worked tirelessly to challenge racist systems and establish community resources for Black Americans through his activism, written works, and education of future social workers.


Lester Blackwell Granger (1896–1976)

Lester Blackwell Granger was an early pioneer in introducing civil rights to social work advocacy, leading efforts to integrate white unions and the military. In 1958, he was one of four civil rights activist leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr., to meet with President Eisenhower to discuss civil rights reform. Granger was president of the National Urban League for 20 years and finished his illustrious career as a professor at Dillard University in New Orleans.


Estelle Massey Osbourne (1901-1981)

Estelle Massey Osbourne paved the way for African American nurses to enter education and leadership roles in nursing. She stepped into numerous leadership roles – acting as president of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses, a member of the ANA Board of Directors and a delegate to the International Council of Nurses.


Dorothy Height (1912–2010)

“The godmother of the civil rights movement,” Dorothy Height was a women’s rights and civil rights advocate, who was instrumental in the advancement of the rights of Black Americans, and Black women in particular. Throughout her life, she campaigned internationally for women’s rights, traveling to Mexico, India, and many countries in Africa.


Mary Elizabeth Carnegie (1916-2008)

Dr. Mary Elizabeth Carnegie was a nurse, educator, author, and tireless advocate for quality education and full recognition of African American nurses. Author of three editions of The Path We Tread: Blacks in Nursing Worldwide, 1854-1994, she is credited with writing 85 articles including editorials in 30 journals, chapters and forewards in 20 books, and delivering more than 400 speeches.


Hazel Johnson-Brown (1927-2011)

Brigadier General Hazel Johnson-Brown was a woman of firsts. She was the first Black female general and the first Black chief of the US Army Nurse Corps. Johnson-Brown used her influence to improve equality in the Army Nurse Corps, developing scholarships, summer nursing clinical camps, Army nursing conferences, and the first ANC Standards of Practice.


Bernardine M. Lacey (1932 – 2021)

Bernardine Lacey was a trailblazing nursing leader, advocate, researcher, educator, and mentor. She served on President Clinton’s task force for Healthcare Reform and Health Care Delivery and in 2014, Dr. Lacey was inducted as a “Living Legend” by the American Academy of Nursing for her contributions to the nursing profession as an educator, community advocate, and political champion.


Ernest J Grant (1958 – present)

Ernest J Grant is the first male president of the American Nurses Association (ANA). An internationally recognized burn-care and fire-safety expert, he was presented the Nurse of the Year Award in 2002 by President George W. Bush for his work treating burn victims from the World Trade Center.


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