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May 04 , 2011

Nursing Civil Rights

Gender and Race in the Army Nurse Corps


In Nursing Civil Rights, Charissa J. Threat investigates the parallel battles against occupational segregation by African American women and white men in the U.S. Army. As Threat reveals, both groups viewed their circumstances with the Army Nurse Corps as a civil rights matter. Each conducted separate integration campaigns to end the discrimination they suffered. Yet their stories defy the narrative that civil rights struggles inevitably arced toward social justice. Threat tells how progressive elements in the campaigns did indeed break down barriers in both military and civilian nursing. At the same time, she follows conservative threads to portray how some of the women who succeeded as agents of change became defenders of exclusionary practices when men sought military nursing careers. The ironic result was a struggle that simultaneously confronted and reaffirmed the social hierarchies that nurtured discrimination.

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