A Foundation for Advancement
Baltimore Sun recently published the article, "Equality's
Struggles," highlighting the great civil rights work of several
Baltimoreans. Among them were Esther
McCready, DIN '53, the first African-American graduate of the University of Maryland School
of Nursing, and Larry Gibson, LLB,
professor for forty years at the University of Maryland Francis
King Carey School of Law.
In honor of their achievements, and to expound the University's support
for equality of opportunity, University of Maryland, Baltimore
President Jay A. Perman, MD,
and University of Maryland School of Nursing Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN,
wrote the following response to the Sun article, which appeared in the newspaper on Wednesday, July 2, 2014, the 50th
anniversary of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964. That landmark federal legislation outlawed
discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
It also banned discrimination in schools, workplaces, and public
'A Foundation for Advancement'
We are writing in response to the June 30 Baltimore Sun article "Equality's Struggles," featuring
Esther McCready, a 1953
graduate of the University of Maryland School of Nursing. The article's
sub-head, "Setting the Foundation,"
could not be more appropriate. For the past 60 years, the foundation
set by Ms. McCready's courage and fortitude has continued to open doors
not only for African-American nursing students but for minority
students in all the professional schools (dentistry, law, medicine,
pharmacy, and social work) at the University
of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).
Small in stature and soft in voice, Ms. McCready had no idea how her
initial letter of interest to the School of Nursing in 1948 would
impact generations to come. She did not set out to make history, but
that is what she did. The school of nursing currently boasts a minority
enrollment of 37 percent, of which 53 percent are African-American. The
UMB campus enrollment includes 37 percent minority students, more than
a third of whom are African-American. Prestigious African-American
nursing alumnae such as Rear Admiral
Sylvia Trent-Adams, MS '99, chief nurse officer, U.S. Public
Health Service, and Ruby L.
Wesley-Shadow, PhD '87, RN, associate chief of nursing education
and research, Washington, D.C. VA Medical Center, were able to reach
their goals due to Ms. McCready's "can do" spirit and pioneering
All these years later, Ms. McCready still attends School of Nursing
events and has served on the school's Board of Visitors. Students of
all races clamor to meet her when she visits the school. Our Living
History Museum (one of few museums in the nation located in a nursing
school) boasts an exhibit dedicated to Ms. McCready. We are very proud
to count Esther McCready among our 20,000 University of Maryland School
of Nursing alumni.
We at UMB are also very proud to count as one of our own another
Baltimore civil rights leader featured in "Equality's Struggles." Larry Gibson is much more than a
professor of law. Guided by his own struggles growing up in segregated
Baltimore, Mr. Gibson has been a forceful advocate for equality,
serving in the U.S. Justice Department, and as campaign manager and
advisor to many local, state, and national political campaigns. His
research and writings have brought to vivid life the legacy of slavery
and the history of civil rights in Maryland, most notably the amazing
story of former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, which Mr.
Gibson eloquently describes in his book, Young Thurgood: The Making of a Supreme
The University of Maryland, Baltimore is committed to addressing the
call for a professional workforce that better reflects the demography
of our city, state, and nation. To that end, we are deeply engaged in a
number of pipeline initiatives intended to excite and prepare our youth
for opportunities in health, law, and social work. The stories of Esther
McCready and Larry Gibson, and their contributions to our university,
remind us that we must never lessen that commitment.
|Posting Date: 07/02/2014
|Contact Name: Alex Likowski
|Contact Phone: 410-706-3801
|Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org