Official VCU Press Release
Carrie Atherton
VCU Communications and Public Relations
“Virginia Currents,” a locally produced television program, will air a two-part series about the St. Philip School of Nursing and the role it played during racial segregation.
The segments will air Thursday, Feb. 10, and Thursday, Feb. 17, on Richmond’s local PBS station, WCVE TV.
Graduates of the Class of 1962 – Arlethia Rogers, Vivian Bagby and Ginny Roane – were interviewed about their experiences as black women, students and nurses during the transition of the 1960s.
St. Philip Hospital and its School of Nursing were established in 1920 to treat black patients and to educate young black women to become qualified nurses during racial segregation. The hospital was located at 12th and Marshall streets in downtown Richmond and was affiliated with the Medical College of Virginia.
The St. Philip School of Nursing was closed in 1962. Today, St. Philip School of Nursing alumnae are actively involved with the VCU School of Nursing, which carries on the legacy of St. Philip through its commitment to diversity and its mission to improve health and the human condition through leadership in nursing research, education and service.
“Nursing Then & Now” (part one) will air Feb. 10 at 8 p.m. Rogers, Bagby and Roane will reflect upon the difficulties and joys of being nursing students and professionals in the 1960s and how it differed from nursing today. The fact that there were no computers and the students were taught to rely mainly on their instincts is one major difference that will be discussed. The women also will reflect upon dress code, uniforms, training, dorm life and personal experiences.
“Nursing as an African American in the Early ’60s” (part two) will air on Feb. 17 at 8 p.m. During this segment, Rogers, Bagby and Roane will talk about what it was like to be nursing students and later nursing professionals in the early part of the 1960s when integration began. These women will discuss how differently they were treated from white co-workers by patients, doctors and staff. They also will talk about how difficult it was to treat a patient that did not want to be treated by a black nurse and the struggles and obstacles they met and overcame on a daily basis.
This two-part story documents the difficulties, obstacles and fulfillment these courageous women experienced while living together in a dorm, studying and working demanding schedules to become capable nurses. It provides an in-depth and personal look at the nursing occupation in the 1960s and the particular challenges for a black woman in the nursing profession during this time of racial segregation.
For more information, about the VCU School of Nursing visit and for more on “Virginia Currents,” visit

Link to Press Release on VCU News Center

Categories Alumni and Friends, News