Carrie Early Broadfoot

Carrie Early Broadfoot
Founder of NCACGN
Dates: 
1870-1945

Founder of the North Carolina Association of Negro Registered Nurses (NCACGN)

Born June 13, 1970 in Lynchburg, VA, died January 8, 1945.

  • Carrie Early Broadfoot was educated at Frederick Douglass Memorial Hospital in Philadelphia, graduating in 1899.  She was Superintendent there from 1900-1904 and moved to Raleigh in fall 1904 or winter 1905. There, she became the Superintendent of St. Agnes Hospital School of Nursing which had been established in Raleigh in 1896 for the African American community. She joined the Red Cross and planned to go overseas during World War I. Instead she was directed to work at home to help control the influenza epidemic sweeping the country at the time.
  • In 1923, North Carolina opened a Negro Division of the State Sanatorium for tuberculosis patients and Broadfoot served of the Nursing Superintendent of the African American division of the Sanatorium as well as Director of its African American nursing school. She directed this Division until 1944, when a stroke forced her to move in with her sister in Roxbury, MA. In 1920, she and four other North Carolina African-American nurses attended a meeting of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses in Washington, DC. In 1923, these five nurses founded the North Carolina Colored Graduate Nurses Association (later renamed the North Carolina Association of Negro Registered Nurses). Broadfoot served as its president for the first eight years. This professional organization continued until 1949 when it merged with the North Carolina Nurses Association.

Upon her "leave of absence" from the State sanitarium, the Board of Directors passed the following resolution (from the June, 1944 issue of the Sanatorium Sun, p.2):

"The Board of Directors of the North Carolina Sanatorium learns with deep regret of the sickness of Mrs. Carrie E. Broadfoot and desires to express their earnest wish for her speedy and complete recovery.  For twenty years, Mrs. Broadfoot has been the Superintendent of Nurses of the Negro Division of the North Carolina Sanatorium and she has labored unceasingly and oftentimes at teh expense of her health for the welfare of the institution. We were exceedingly fortunate in securing her servicesin the organization of the North Carolina Sanatorium Training School for Negro Nurses, the second Tuberculosis Training School in the UNited States. ... Her outstanding ability, splendid character and lofty ideals and her prestige as organizer of the Negro State Nurses Association of North Carolina in 1923 and as president for the first eight years and as recording secretary of the National Association of Negro Nurses have done much in establishing the Sanatorium and the Training School  in th confidence of the Negroes over the State and in getting them to take advantage of the faciltiies offered for the treatment and prevention of tuberculosis. Be it resolved That the Board of Directors pf the North Carolina Sanatorium express their appreciation for the outstanding services Mrs. Broadfoot has rendered the institution and the cause of tuberculosis in the state."

Despite the esteem she recieved from co-workers and other nurses, she showed some weariness cuased by establishing and buiding an organization in the face of racism, lack of money and lack of other institutional support. On April 2,1934 she wrote a letter to Lula West, President of the White NCSNA saying: "I have been President [of the NCACGN] for 9 years, long enough for the Association to Incorporate and with a few hundred dollars in the treasury, and so I do feel that I did accomplish something for the good of the Association.  Of course, in organizing the Association and being its President for 9 years was not smooth sailing and no doubt I made errors."


Carrie Earley Broadfoot, R.N. Founder and first President of the NCCGNA

carrie-broadfoot.jpgMrs. Carrie B. Earley Broadfoot was born June 13, 1870 in Lynchburg, Virginia to the formerly enslaved Henry and Carolyn Shavers Earley. After completing the education available in the segregated public schools in Lynchburg, Broadfoot attended the Frederick Douglass Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in Philadelphia and graduated in 1899. After several months of private duty nursing Broadfoot accepted the position of Superintendent of Nurses at her alma mater. She held this position from 1900 until 1904. In 1905, Broadfoot moved to Raleigh, North Carolina to become the Superintendent of Nurses at St. Agnes Hospital, where she served for three years until her marriage to Thomas Broadfoot of Fayetteville, North Carolina on June 30, 1908. After her marriage, she retired from nursing for a decade until the United States entered World War One (WW1) in 1918. Broadfoot hoped to go overseas to nurse the troops but the US Army Nurse Corps (USANC) refused to employ African American nurses. Instead of going to Europe, Broadfoot was directed to work at home with victims of the influenza epidemic sweeping the country in 1918-1919. After the influenza crisis passed, Broadfoot continued to work as a private duty nurse in Fayetteville.

In 1920 Broadfoot attended the annual convention of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses in Washington, D.C. 

The first 50 years of professional nursing in North Carolina were marred by racial exclusion, prejudice and segregation. From education to employment to membership in professional associations, African-American nurses in North Carolina, indeed in all the states of the old Confederacy and in much of the nation, faced legal, social and professional discrimination.

Despite these obstacles, though, many African-American nurses survived and thrived. Many brought the rudiments of nursing to poor, uneducated, and sick people. In addition, they sought to fulfill the obligations of the Florence Nightingale Pledge by maintaining and elevation he standards of profession.

Because the exclusively white North Carolina State Nurses Association (NCSNA) provided the primary arena for professional discussion, legislative activity and continuing education programs for nurses in North Carolina. African-American Nurses established a parallel organization, the North Carolina Association of Colored Graduate Nurses.

When the NCSNA formed in 1902, membership privileges were extended only to white nurses. Although North Carolina was then home to several high caliber nursing schools for African Americans, such as Good Samaritan in Charlotte, St. Agnes in Raleigh and Lincoln in Durham, their graduates were barred from participating the only professional nursing organization in the state. Membership in the American Nurses Association (ANA) was granted only to members of state affiliates until 1948; therefore, membership in the predominant national professional association was also closed to all southern African-American nurses.

Seeking the benefits of a professional organization denied them by the ANA, a group of African-American nurses, led by Martha Franklin of Philadelphia, met in New York in 1908 to form the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN). The purposes of the new organization were enumerated in its Certificate of Incorporation. A portion of it reads: “…to promote the professional and educational advancement of nurses in every proper way; to elevate the standards of nursing education: to establish and maintain a code of ethics among nurses…”

Charlotte Rhone, the first African American Registered Nurse from New Bern, was the only registered nurse from North Carolina to attend the initial meeting of the NACGN.  She became a charter member of the organization. All nurses were welcome to participate in the NACGN. Annual meetings were held to provide opportunities for continuing education, networking and discussion and action on legal, legislative and professional issues affecting their practice, their race and the nursing profession.

Five North Carolina nurses attended the 1920 NACGN annual convention in Washington, D.C.  They were Carrie Early Broadfoot, Mrs. Faisarr (difficult to read the spelling in the handwritten notes),Miss Anna Saunders, MIss M.L. Taylor and Miss Miller.    Carrie Early Broadfoot, of Fayetteville, called the North Carolina nurses together during the conference and suggested they establish a state chapter of the NACGN. Upon their return to North Carolina, they wrote and spoke to as many nurses as possible about the benefits of having an organization. Their hard work paid off. The first meeting of the North Carolina Colored Graduate Nurses Association (NCCGNA, name later changed to North Carolina Association of Negro Registered Nurses, Inc. –NCANRI) was held on January 18, 1923 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina with 16 nurses in attendance. Broadfoot was elected president, a post she held for the next eight years. A second meeting was held in Raleigh on May 3, 1923 with 35 nurses participating.

In 1923, she was invited to become the Superintendent of the new Negro Divisions at the State [tuberculosis] Sanatorium in rural Hoke County. In addition to directing the nursing care at the Sanatorium, in 1925 she organized and was Superintendent of the two-year North Carolina Sanatorium Training School for Negro Nurses. The first two graduates were Clareta Redding and Mary Elliott.

Broadfoot directed the Negro Division of the State Sanatorium and its school of nursing until she suffered a stroke in 1943. She had a difficult recovery and her failing health forced her to give up her position. By that time, she was widowed, so she moved to Boston to be cared for by her sister. Broadfoot died January 6, 1945. When Mrs. Broadfoot left the State Sanatorium, the Board of Directors issued this resolution:

The Board of Directors of the North Carolina Sanatorium learns with deep regret of the sickness of Mrs. Carrie E. Broadfoot and desires to express their earnest wish for her speedy and complete recovery. For twenty years, Mrs. Broadfoot has been the Superintendent of Nurses of the Negro expense of her health for the welfare of the institution. We were exceedingly fortunate in securing her services in the organization of the North Carolina Sanatorium Training School for Negro Nurses, the second Tuberculosis Training School in the United States. Her outstanding ability, splendid character and lofty ideals and her prestige as organizer of the Negro State Nurses Association of North Carolina in 1923 and as president for the first eight years and as recording secretary of the National Association of Negro Nurses have done much in establishing the Sanatorium and the Training School in the confidence of the Negroes over the State and in getting them to take advantage of the facilities offered for the treatment and prevention of tuberculosis. Be it resolved that the Board of Directors pf the North Carolina Sanatorium express their appreciation for the outstanding services Mrs. Broadfoot has rendered the institution and the cause of tuberculosis in the state. (Mrs. Carrie E. Broadfoot, 1944, p.2)

Carrie Early Broadfoot was born on June 13, 1870 in Lynchburg, Virginia. She was educated at Frederick Douglass Memorial Hospital in Philadelphia, graduating in 1899.  She was Superintendent there from 1900-1904 and moved to Raleigh in fall 1904 or winter 1905. There, she became the Superintendent of St. Agnes Hospital School of Nursing which had been established in Raleigh in 1896 for the African American community. She joined the Red Cross and planned to go overseas during World War I. Instead she was directed to work at home to help control the influenza epidemic sweeping the country at the time.

In 1920, she and four other North Carolina African American nurses attended a meeting of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses in Washington, DC. In 1923, these five nurses founded the North Carolina Colored Graduate Nurses Association (later renamed the North Carolina Association of Negro Registered Nurses). Broadfoot served as its president for the first eight years. This professional organization continued until 1949 when it merged with the North Carolina Nurses Association. In 1923, North Carolina opened a Negro Division of the State Sanatorium for tuberculosis patients and Broadfoot served of the Nursing Superintendent of the African American division of the Sanatorium as well as Director of its African American nursing school. She directed this Division until 1944, when a stroke forced her to move in with her sister in Roxbury, MA.

Upon her "leave of absence" from the State sanitarium, the Board of Directors passed the following resolution (from the June, 1944 issue of the Sanatorium Sun, p.2)

"The Board of Directors of the North Carolina Sanatorium learns with deep regret of the sickness of Mrs. Carrie E. Broadfoot and desires to express their earnest wish for her speedy and complete recovery.  For twenty years, Mrs. Broadfoot has been the Superintendent of Nurses of the Negro Division of the North Carolina Sanatorium and she has labored unceasingly and oftentimes at the expense of her health for the welfare of the institution.  We were exceedingly fortunate in securing her services in the organization of the North Carolina Sanatorium Training School for Negro Nurses, the second Tuberculosis Training School in the United States.    Her outstanding ability, splendid character and lofty ideals and her prestige as organizer of the Negro State Nurses Association of North Carolina in 1923 and as president for the first eight years and as recording secretary of the National Association of Negro Nurses have done much in establishing the Sanatorium and the Training School  in the confidence of the Negroes over the State and in getting them to take advantage of the facilities offered for the treatment and prevention of tuberculosis. ... Be it resolved That the Board of Directors pf the North Carolina Sanatorium express their appreciation for the outstanding services Mrs. Broadfoot has rendered the institution and the cause of tuberculosis in the state."

Despite the esteem she received from co-workers and other nurses, she showed some weariness caused by establishing and building an organization in the face of racism, lack of money and lack of other institutional support. On April 2, 1934 she wrote a letter to Lula West, President of the White NCSNA saying: "I have been President [of the NCACGN] for 9 years, long enough for the Association to Incorporate and with a few hundred dollars in the treasury, and so I do feel that I did accomplish something for the good of the Association.  Of course, in organizing the Association and being its President for 9 years was not smooth sailing and no doubt I made errors."

Carrie Broadfoot passed away on January 8, 1945 and was buried in Fayetteville's Elmwood Cemetery. In 2016 she was inducted into the Hall of Fame of the North Carolina Nurses Association. She was married to Thomas Broadfoot (1855-1933).

Books

  • Pathfinders (1929) by Adah Thoms, mention on pp. 148-149
Compiled by: 
Phoebe Pollitt