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Prudence Burrell

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Information about Prudence Burrell

Profile image of Prudence Burrell

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
MedicalMakers
Occupation(s):
Teacher
Nurse

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Fried Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Hello, How Are You?

Birthplace

Born:
3/23/1916
Birth Location:
Mounds, Illinois

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
MedicalMakers
Occupation(s):
Teacher
Nurse

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Fried Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
Hello, How Are You?

Birthplace

Born:
3/23/1916
Birth Location:
Mounds
See how Prudence Burrell is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Nurse Prudence Hathaway Burns Burrell was born on March 23, 1916, in Mounds, Illinois, to Al Wade and Mary Burns. Burrell was raised in Danville, Illinois by Gwendolyn Chambliss, her caretaker. Growing up in Southern Illinois, she attended Douglas Elementary School in Danville. An outstanding Latin student, Burrell graduated from Lovejoy High School in Mound City in 1934. She attended nursing school at Kansas City’s segregated General Hospital No. 2. Burrell passed the state nursing board certification examination in 1939 as a registered nurse and soon enrolled in the University of Minnesota.

With the onset of World War II, Burrell decided to join the United States Army Nurse Corps at Fort Huachuca, Arizona in 1942. There, she tended to the famed Buffalo Soldiers and met dancer Fayard Nicholas. Although she attained the rank of first lieutenant of the United States Army Nursing Corps, she was not allowed to treat white troops because of her race. In 1943, Burrell was sent to Station Hospital 268 in Sydney, Australia, then to Brisbane, and eventually to Milne Bay, New Guinea in 1944. There, she taught first-aid techniques to other units, treated gun shot and other wounds, and specialized in the treatment of malaria. Transferred to the Philippine Islands in 1945, Burrell met and married Detroit native, Lieutenant Lowell Burrell. After a simple ceremony consisting of a wedding gown made from a parachute and a fifty-cent ring, she was transferred to Germany during the integration of the United States Armed Forces.

Returning to the United States, Burrell taught at Pacific Lutheran Hospital and earned her B.S. degree in public health from the University of Minnesota in 1951. Eventually, she and her husband moved back to Detroit where she taught mathematics in the Detroit Public Schools and became a health care analyst for the State of Michigan. An active volunteer in Detroit, Burrell delighted in sharing her past with school children. Burrell published her life story in a book called Hathaway in 1997.

Burrell passed away on February 29, 2012 at age 95.

See how Prudence Burrell is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Prudence Burrell's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Prudence Burrell lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Prudence Burrell describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Prudence Burrell describes her maternal grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Prudence Burrell lists her siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Prudence Burrell remembers her maternal uncle
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Prudence Burrell describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Prudence Burrell remembers her maternal grandmother's embalming
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Prudence Burrell describes her likeness to her maternal grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Prudence Burrell describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Prudence Burrell remembers her love of dancing
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Prudence Burrell describes her schooling
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Prudence Burrell remembers Lovejoy High School in Mound City, Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Prudence Burrell recalls her experiences of discrimination in southern Illinois
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Prudence Burrell remembers the Chambliss family
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Prudence Burrell recalls her accomplishments at Lovejoy High School
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Prudence Burrell recalls becoming a nurse at the General Hospital No. 2 in Kansas City, Missouri, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Prudence Burrell recalls becoming a nurse at the General Hospital No. 2 in Kansas City, Missouri, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Prudence Burrell recalls the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Prudence Burrell remembers the start of World War II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Prudence Burrell recalls her assignment to Fort Huachuca in Arizona, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Prudence Burrell recalls her assignment to Fort Huachuca in Arizona, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Prudence Burrell remembers her deployment to the South Pacific
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Prudence Burrell describes her experiences of discrimination in Australia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Prudence Burrell recalls being stationed in New Guinea
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Prudence Burrell recalls her U.S. military service in the Philippines
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Prudence Burrell remembers Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Prudence Burrell recalls her meeting with Mary McLeod Bethune
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Prudence Burrell remembers her rescinded promotion
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Prudence Burrell describes her husband
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Prudence Burrell describes her wedding dress
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Prudence Burrell remembers moving to Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Prudence Burrell recalls facing discrimination at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Prudence Burrell recalls her career as a healthcare analyst
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Prudence Burrell remembers teaching in the Detroit Public Schools
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Prudence Burrell talks about her nursing education
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Prudence Burrell describes her work as a healthcare analyst
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Prudence Burrell talks about her book, 'Hathaway'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Prudence Burrell describes her hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Prudence Burrell reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Prudence Burrell talks about her family
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Prudence Burrell describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Prudence Burrell narrates her photographs