Today, we expect to see black nurses when we go to the hospital, doctor or clinic. It wasn’t always that way. Thereasea Elder knows first hand. She was one of the community’s public health nurses. When we think about desegregation, we often recall images of innocent school children simply trying to get an education.
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Elder was an adult by the time school’s were desegregated. She was sent into KKK territory when she worked for the Mecklenburg County Health Department to work as a nurse. She was a pioneer which is why there is now a county park named in her honor. It’s also why the Mecklenburg County Health Department’s Village HeartBEAT faith-based health initiative has named the Thereasea Elders Leadership Academy in her honor.