Learn more about nursing history in Alexander County, NC.
From "Voices" by Evelyn Wicker, a book about the history of Lincoln Hospital School of Nursing in Durham, NC.
Edna Martel Jones Moore, RN ’47, BSN
I was born in Taylorsville, North Carolina, and graduated from Happy Plains High School in 1944. I am the middle child of three girls. My mother died when I was five years old and our maternal grandparents raised us.
I always wanted to be a history teacher. However, this changed in 1942 when my grandfather had a massive stroke that paralyzed him and left him almost speechless. He had been a loving father figure to my sisters and me. We assisted our grandmother and the community volunteers in taking care of him. I enjoyed caring for him and seeing the thankful look in his eyes and the smile on his face when he was fed or given water. Caring for him helped me to make the decision to become a nurse. When I saw an advertisement about the Cadet Nurses, I applied to Lincoln Hospital School of Nursing and St. Phillip School of Nursing. I was accepted to both but chose Lincoln because it was closer to my grandmother.
Student Cadet Nurses who had completed all of their classes and affiliations were permitted to spend their last six months of training in a Veterans Administrations Hospital. I met my husband during this period, got married, graduated, passed my State Boards, and went to Tuskegee, Alabama.
Louis J. Moore and I will be married for sixty-three years in August 2010. We had three children, two daughters and a son (we lost our son in 2006), three grandchildren, and four great grandchildren. I was a nurse at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama, and at the Veterans Administration Hospital in the Bronx, New York, for a total of thirty-seven years of service. I worked as a staff nurse, assistant head nurse, head nurse, and trained as an evening supervisor but declined further promotion because I enjoyed working with patients. I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University). I retired in 1985 following many rewarding years of service. From 1985 until today, I have been a volunteer in the community.
I am a member of Greater St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church and an active member of both the Tuskegee University Alumni Association and the Tuskegee University Nurses Alumni Association. I am active with the Cancer Research Foundation, the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association, Habitat for Humanity, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, the Alabama State Nurses Association, the American Nurses Association, Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc., and am a life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. I hold or have held leadership positions in most of these organizations. I am also a volunteer with the Montgomery Health Department focusing on AIDS research.
I have received several awards throughout my career. To mention a few: Chi Eta Phi Epsilon chapter’s Sisterhood and Nurse of the Year Award, Habitat for Humanity’s Angel Award, and several appreciations awards from Tuskegee University. I was named an Outstanding Retired Nurse by the Alabama State Nurses Association and was inducted into the Alabama Senior Citizens Hall of Fame. I was a special guest at a Harvard University graduation exercise recognizing my inclusion in a dissertation titled “Professional Commitment and Activism in the Lives of Five Southern African-American Nurses.” The dissertation appeared in book form, and an article about us, titled “Nurses Making a Difference” appeared in the American Journal of Nursing in February 2001.