March 8, 2016–Ann Bradford Stokes


African American military nurses of the American Civil War. 

Ann Bradford Stokes started her nursing career as “contraband”–a former slave now freed when Union Forces invaded the South.

She was taken aboard a naval vessel. She could not read or write, but began working as a nurse, all the same. She worked under the direction of the Sisters of the Holy Cross on the USS Red Rover, the first naval hospital ship. As such, Stokes was the first African American woman to serve  on board a naval vessel and one of the first women to serve as nurses in the military. She helped serve over 3,000 wounded soldiers while on board.

Officially, Stokes enlisted in the navy in January of 1863 and served until October 1864. During her enlistment, she was paid regular wages for the first time in her life.

After leaving the Navy, she married Gilbert Stokes. In 1890 she applied for a disability pension and was certified by the Navy has having served for 18 months of active duty during the war. She is the first woman in the US to receive a pension for her own military service. She died in Illinois in 1903.

2 Comments on “March 8, 2016–Ann Bradford Stokes

  1. Hi, Arlitia! Been trying to get hold of you. I love these Women’s History Month profiles. Can I feature you on my blog sometime next week? I can shoot over brief interview questions or you can simply summarize what you’re doing and why you’ve decided to promote women. If you’re crushed for time, I can simply reblog your posts on my site with my own little summary. Let me know what works best. Would love to share these posts with my audience. Cheers and take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Women’s History Month 2016–My Anthology of Amazing Women | GRAMPUS

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