World War II brought Central Virginians Minnie Brown Carter and Frances Cornelia Betts Butler into service as Cadet Nurses. The labor shortages caused by the war led hospitals everywhere to hire black nurses. In 1951 the national organization of African American nurses disbanded and integrated with the white organization. Local chapters of the American Nurses’ Association took in black members, which helped to end employment discrimination for black nurses.
One way to address the “Negro Health Problem” identified in the decade before the first World War was to train black nurses to take medical care to African American schools, churches, and neighborhoods. Especially in low-income neighborhoods, black nurses eased suspicion about public health activities such as vaccination drives.