Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Contagions of EmpireScientific Racism, Sexuality, and Black Military Workers Abroad, 1898-1948$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Khary Oronde Polk

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469655505

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469655505.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 27 October 2021

Negro Heroines

Negro Heroines

Gender, Race, and Immunity in the Spanish-Cuban-American War

(p.48) Chapter Two Negro Heroines
Contagions of Empire

Khary Oronde Polk

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter examines the role Black women volunteers played as immune nurses in the Spanish-Cuban-American War. To enlist black women’s care labor in the Cuban conflict, army physicians relied on the myth of the plantation nurse, a figure whose biological and thus racial immunity from yellow fever recalled forms of gendered subordination and sacrifice ritualized in U.S. slavery. Black leaders like Namahyoka Curtis helped to recruit immune nurses in New Orleans in the hope that their performances of patriotic service would secure greater citizenship rights for the greater African American community. The experiences of the nurses before, during, and after the conflict offer a counter historiography of the war, and shows how Black women self-consciously presented themselves as matrons of respectability whose labor and sacrifice entitled them to fair and equal treatment under the law.

Keywords:   Curtis, care labor, nurses, respectability, sacrifice, service, yellow fever, U.S. slavery, Cuba, New Orleans

North Carolina Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .