Mary Seon was the first Black Bermudian to become an RN. She graduated from Provident Medical College and Hospital Nursing School in Chicago in 1895. Mabel White, who qualified at Hampton Training School in Virginia in 1903, was the second.
Other US nursing schools beckoned, but Lincoln Hospital School for Nurses in the Bronx, New York was the most popular institution. Mabel Crawford became Lincoln’s first Bermudian RN in 1911. She was followed by Alice Scott and Mary Tucker Mynns in 1912.
Rena Francis Smith, Lauretta Smith Williams, Ellen Tucker Stowe Lambe, Frances Cann Eve, Greta Pearman Swan and Caro Spencer Wilson also graduated from Lincoln.
With the Cottage Hospital and KEMH off-limits, the employment options for Black nurses during the 1930s and 1940s were limited to private duty nursing and the handful of positions available at the Bermuda Nursing Home.
Alice Scott, a suffragette and co-founder of Sandys Secondary School ran a nursing home, while Lauretta Smith Williams made her mark as the first Bermudian matron of the Bermuda Nursing Home.
Ellen Tucker Stowe Lambe was matron of the Sunshine League and later opened a nursing home. As long-time matron of the Nursing Home, and its successor, the Cottage Hospital Nursing Home, Mabel White oversaw the training of Black Bermudian nurses on home soil.