Esther McReady, RN: Nursing Advocate For Civil Rights

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Phoebe Ann Pollitt PhD, Associate Professor (Creator)
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site:

Abstract: More than a decade before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as an African American teenager from Baltimore, Maryland, Esther McCready challenged the discriminatory admissions policies of the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON). The article explores nurse advocacy and how Esther McCready advocated for herself and greater racial equity in nursing education during a time of civil rights turmoil. Her actions eventually resulted in the formation of numerous schools of nursing for African Americans across the south. This article recounts McCready’s early life experiences and the powerful impact her actions had on creating educational options for nurses during a time when they were severely limited for African American women, including discussion of her student days at UMSON and her journey after nursing school. A review of pertinent legal cases and policies related to segregation and integration of higher education in the mid-twentieth century is presented, along with details of McCready’s continued education and advocacy.

Additional Information

Pollitt, P. (February 15, 2016). "Esther McCready, RN: Nursing Advocate for Civil Rights" OJIN: The Online Journal of Issues in Nursing Vol. 21 No. 2. DOI: 10.3912/OJIN.Vol21No02PPT01. Publisher version of record available at:
Language: English
Date: 2016
nurse advocacy, racial discrimination, segregation, Civil Rights Movement, Civil Rights Act of 1964, health disparities

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