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Wed May 16, 2018, 11:10 AM

The Army's First Black Nurses Were Relegated to Caring for Nazi Prisoners of War

Prohibited from treating white GIs, the women felt betrayed by the country they sought to serve


By Alexis Clark, Zócalo Public Square
smithsonian.com
May 15, 2018 1:39PM

On the summer afternoon in 1944 that 23-year-old Elinor Powell walked into the Woolworth’s lunch counter in downtown Phoenix, it never occurred to her that she would be refused service. She was, after all, an officer in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, serving her country during wartime, and she had grown up in a predominantly white, upwardly mobile Boston suburb that didn’t subject her family to discrimination.

But the waiter who turned Elinor away wasn’t moved by her patriotism. All he saw was her brown skin. It probably never occurred to him that the woman in uniform was from a family that served its country, as Elinor’s father had in the First World War, as well as another relative who had been part of the Union Army during the Civil War. The only thing that counted at that moment—and in that place, where Jim Crow laws remained in force—was the waiter’s perception of a black army nurse as not standing on equal footing with his white customers.

Infuriated and humiliated, Elinor left Woolworth’s and returned to POW Camp Florence, in the Arizona desert. She was stationed there to look after German prisoners of war, who had been captured in Europe and Northern Africa and then sent across the Atlantic Ocean, for detainment in the United States during World War II.

Elinor, like many other black nurses in the Army Nurse Corps, was tasked with caring for German POWs—men who represented Hitler’s racist regime of white supremacy. Though their presence is rarely discussed in American history, from 1942 to 1946, there were 371,683 German POWs scattered across the country in more than 600 camps. Some POWs remained until 1948.....(rest of the article at the link)

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/armys-first-black-nurses-had-tend-to-german-prisoners-war-180969069/?utm_source=facebook.com&utm_medium=socialmedia


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Reply The Army's First Black Nurses Were Relegated to Caring for Nazi Prisoners of War (Original post)
SummerSnow May 2018 OP
eppur_se_muova May 2018 #1
SummerSnow May 2018 #2
heaven05 May 2018 #3
GeoWilliam750 May 2018 #4

Response to SummerSnow (Original post)

Wed May 16, 2018, 01:42 PM

1. I dunno, I'd kind of like to see those Nazi officer's reactions ...

kind of hard to act all master-racy when Nurse Elinor lets Herr Obergruppenfuhrer know it's Double Enema Day, traction or no.

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Response to eppur_se_muova (Reply #1)

Wed May 16, 2018, 07:54 PM

2. It would be interesting to know how they did react. I agree.

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Response to SummerSnow (Original post)

Thu May 17, 2018, 11:21 AM

3. "prohibited from treating white GI'S"

 

so stupid ameriKKKa's waste of valuable assets. It has always been and not used till needed desperately or needed for a public relations scam to show how all inclusive ameriKKKa was to further add cover to the lies, hypocrisy and racial hate that filled the toxic and barely hidden underbelly of this society. Really sad. But I guess the trump presidency has caused an upsurge in research in just how much AA have contributed as American citizens to this nation and that's a good thing.

Fuck you trump and any racist trump supporter. I am an American with every right ameriKKKans claim, so were these nurses, so were the Tuskeegee airmen who DID NOT lose a bomber while escorting.

White supremacists are so fucking hateful and stupid.

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Response to SummerSnow (Original post)

Thu May 17, 2018, 06:58 PM

4. It is impressive, the will and the dignity of so many People of Color

In the face of such tenacious and vicious hatred and injustice, past and present.

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