University of Virginia School of Nursing
Members of the Burley High School LPN class of 1956 were among Charlottesville's first black LPNs and were early trailblazers in a health system that was still segregated.

An icon of a nurse's cap to signify scholarship in nursing history. Celebrating "Hidden Nurses"
Saturday, April 6, 2019
1:30-3:30 PM
McLeod Hall Auditorium
(UVA School of Nursing, 225 Jeanette Lancaster Way, Charlottesville)

"Hidden Nurses" is a project undertaken by professor and Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry director Barbra Mann Wall and PhD student Tori Tucker that aims to shine light on the stories of nurses not previously told.

During the 1950s and 60s and before desegregation, then all-black Burley High School established a licensed practical nursing (LPN) program with UVA School of Nursing that offered local students a path into nursing, given that UVA at that time enrolled whites only.

Under the deanship of then nursing director Roy Beazley, these students earned an LPN certificate and many went on to work at UVA Hospital where they were trailblazers in the fight to desegregate healthcare institutions in Charlottesville and elsewhere. Today, a project led by the Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry’s director Barbra Mann Wall and PhD in nursing student Tori Tucker aims to tell the stories of these LPN graduates and the many other black and brown nurses who have remained hidden in plain sight.

On April 6, the School invites area residents and community members who were part of the LPN program at Burley High School, or who are family members and loved ones of these LPN graduates, to attend a ceremony recognizing the contributions these women and men made to nursing, desegregation, and to racial equity. All LPN graduates or their proxies will receive a certificate and it is our sincere hope that they will help our historians tell their stories so we can better appreciate their contributions to the profession, the hospital, academic nursing institutions, and to Charlottesville’s history.


We currently seek information about students who earned LPN certification through programs for African-American high schoolers at then-Burley High School in the 1950s and 60s. Though we have connected with more than a dozen LPN graduates already, we are missing many stories and urge these LPN graduates and their family members to contact us.

Do you know a graduate that we should contact or a family member of a Burley LPN graduate? Names of graduates and/or family members of the deceased may be emailed to Tori at Please include your name in the message with the graduates’ name, address, and phone number, if applicable.

Interested in sharing your narrative? We will begin gathering oral histories from black nurses that studied, applied, and/or worked in Virginia between 1950 and the 1980s. For more information, please contact Tori Tucker:, or call the School of Nursing’s history center: 434-924-0083.