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Vera Ricketts

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Information about Vera Ricketts

Profile image of Vera Ricketts

Profession

Category:
MedicalMakers
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Pharmacist
Civic Leader

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Yellow
Favorite Food:
Oats, Raisins and Dates
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Jamaica
Favorite Quote:
Give something back to the community.

Birthplace

Born:
10/20/1922
Birth Location:
Indianapolis, Indiana

Profession

Category:
MedicalMakers
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Pharmacist
Civic Leader

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Yellow
Favorite Food:
Oats, Raisins and Dates
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Jamaica
Favorite Quote:
Give something back to the community.

Birthplace

Born:
10/20/1922
Birth Location:
Indianapolis
See how Vera Ricketts is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Pharmacist and civic leader Vera Ricketts was born on October 20, 1922 in Indianapolis, Indiana to Sarah Chilton Phelps and Robert Phelps, Sr. There, Ricketts attended Hazel Hart Hendricks School 37 and Crispus Attucks High School where she graduated in 1941. She later went on to attend Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and graduated with her B.S. degree in pharmacology in 1948. As an undergraduate student, she was an active member of the Congress of Racial Equality.

Ricketts began her career as a pharmacist at Howard University in Washington, D.C. In 1958, Ricketts became the first female African American pharmacist at Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. During this period, she also helped establish the pharmacy at Lincoln Hospital in Durham, where she trained nurse practitioners in pharmacology. Ricketts eventually returned with her husband, William Newton Ricketts, to Washington, D.C., where she worked at the District of Columbia General Hospital pharmacy. In 1960, she and her husband moved to Los Angeles, California, where she worked as an administrator at his medical practice. An active community leader, Ricketts advocated for the creation of the Martin Luther King Jr. General Hospital in Los Angeles’ South Central neighborhood. Ricketts went on to serve as the president of the Auxiliary to the National Medical Association from 1981 to 1982.

In addition to her professional career, Ricketts was also active in other community organizations in the Los Angeles area. In 1979, Ricketts founded the Inglewood Pacific Chapter of The Links, Incorporated, and she served as its chapter president from 1983 to 1985. Ricketts also founded the Theta Mu Omega Chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Through her membership in the sorority, she volunteered on the board of the Jenesse Center, Inc., a shelter for battered women and children in Los Angeles. In 2017, Ricketts and her husband, William Newton Ricketts, received recognition for their thirty plus years of humanitarian work in Jamaica.

Ricketts and her husband have four daughters: Verlie Ricketts Lockings, Renee Ricketts, Victoria Ricketts Wilson and Wendy Ricketts Greene.

Vera Ricketts was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 23, 2017.

See how Vera Ricketts is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Vera Ricketts' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Vera Ricketts lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Vera Ricketts describes her father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Vera Ricketts describes her mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Vera Ricketts talks about her parents' move from Clarksville, Tennessee to Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Vera Ricketts describes her earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Vera Ricketts describes the sights, sounds and smells of her childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Vera Ricketts recalls her early interest in science
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Vera Ricketts remembers attending Crispus Attucks High School in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Vera Ricketts talks about her early racial experiences
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Vera Ricketts remembers the everyday amenities of her childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Vera Ricketts remembers her early career aspirations
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Vera Ricketts recalls attending the Indianapolis College of Pharmacy in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Vera Ricketts remembers her challenges at the Indianapolis College of Pharmacy
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Vera Ricketts remembers graduating from Indianapolis College of Pharmacy in Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Vera Ricketts describes her responsibilities as a pharmacist
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Vera Ricketts recalls being rejected for a job in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Vera Ricketts remembers meeting her husband, William Newton Ricketts
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Vera Ricketts recalls working at Howard University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Vera Ricketts talks about the birth of her daughters
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Vera Ricketts recalls her coworkers' support at Duke University Hospital
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Vera Ricketts remembers returning to Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Vera Ricketts recalls joining Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Vera Ricketts remembers segregation in the 1960s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Vera Ricketts recalls her work at Lincoln Hospital in Durham, North Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Vera Ricketts remembers moving to District of Columbia General Hospital in Washington, D.C.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Vera Ricketts describes the process for manufacturing saline solutions
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Vera Ricketts remembers moving to Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Vera Ricketts talks about her administration work at her husband's medical practice
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Vera Ricketts remembers advocating for the Martin Luther King Jr. General Hospital in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Vera Ricketts talks about her organizational involvement in Los Angeles, California
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Vera Ricketts remembers the founding of the Los Angeles chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Vera Ricketts recalls establishing a partnership between The Links, Incorporated and Jamaica, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Vera Ricketts recalls establishing a partnership between The Links, Incorporated and Jamaica, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Vera Ricketts remembers co-chartering the Inglewood Pacific Chapter of The Links, Incorporated
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Vera Ricketts talks about her public service activities
  • Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Vera Ricketts describes the role of friendship in The Links, Incorporated
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Vera Ricketts narrates her photographs
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Vera Ricketts describes her role as president of the Auxiliary to the National Medical Association
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Vera Ricketts describes her daughter's careers
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Vera Ricketts talks about her grandchildren
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Vera Ricketts reflects upon the election of President Barack Obama
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Vera Ricketts describes her concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Vera Ricketts reflects upon her legacy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Vera Ricketts shares her advice to aspiring pharmacists
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Vera Ricketts describes how she would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Vera Ricketts reflects upon her life
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Vera Ricketts talks about her marriage to William Newton Ricketts