An April 6, 2019, "Hidden Nurses" ceremony was a powerful moment for us

and a chance to properly celebrate UVA nurses whose important stories have, heretofore, remained in the shadows. Twenty-five nurse pioneers from the Burley High School Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) program were recognized, and the names of more than 100 others—either deceased or whose whereabouts are, as yet, unknown—were read.

At the time, these nurses—many of whom are now in their 80s and 90s—were not allowed entry into UVA because of their race. Driven by a critical nursing shortage after World War II, nursing department director Roy Carpenter Beazley established a yearlong LPN program with Charlottesville’s black vocational high school, Jackson P. Burley High, the main school for black students until integration in 1967. After that, the LPN program continued at UVA Hospital at least until 1980, and possibly beyond.

These black nurses went on to help desegregate UVA Hospital, and their presence and experiences were the first steps toward integrating the nursing profession.