Martha Minerva Franklin (1870-1968) 1976

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ANA Hall of Fame Inductee  Martha Franklin

One of the first to actively campaign for racial equality in nursing, Martha Minerva Franklin was the catalyst for collective action by black nurses in the early 1900s. The only black graduate of her class at Woman's Hospital Training School for Nurses in Philadelphia, Franklin recognized black nurses needed help to improve their professional status, and they would have to initiate it themselves.

Under Martha Franklin's guidance, 52 nurses assembled to form the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN) in 1908 and Franklin was elected president. During the three-day meeting, the goals determined by the infant organization were to promote the standards and welfare of all trained nurses and to break down racial discrimination in the profession. A year later, NACGN stated black nurses must meet required standards for all nurses so that a double standard based on race could not be practiced. By 1951, many of the group's aspirations had been met and NACGN merged with the American Nurses Association.