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The Black Angels: A Nurse's Story

The U.N. prepares for its' second high-level meeting on tuberculosis on September 22, 2023. This year's theme is “Advancing science, finance and innovation, and their benefits, to urgently end the global tuberculosis epidemic, in particular, by ensuring equitable access to prevention, testing, treatment and care.”

Tuberculosis Documentary The Black Angels
photo: FNBN Productions

Our 2018 documentary gives homage to African American nurses legendarily known as THE BLACK ANGELS and their service at Seaview Hospital, Staten Island, New York from the 1920's- 1940's. Their story raises the consciousness of nursing science and the contributions of nurses of color to medicine and research. Unfortunately, black history and voices have been disregarded historically and even today.

The release of the documentary has been instrumental in introducing the story to the profession of nursing, in addition, how these nurses were vital in the process and practice of finding the cure for tuberculosis. Furthermore, due to the breakthrough of the cure in 1951 by Dr. Edward H. Robitzek, patients at Seaview began to recover from the deadly disease. This breakthrough stamped the legacy of THE BLACK ANGELS.

Producer, Denetra Hampton shares her lived experience of meeting and talking with Black Angel, Marjorie Tucker Reed, and shares with the audience her journey and introduces members of her family. It is the only filmed interview of Marjorie.

Scientifically, the film offers up a candid conversation about the most infectious disease in the world, tuberculosis. Denetra brings awareness to the historical grip that racism, segregation and inequities continue to hold on communities of color and the nurses and doctors who serve relentlessly on a daily basis. It was sponsored on World TB Day 2023 by organizations TB ALLIANCE and IAVI, bringing it back to its home of New York City. A full circle moment.

In closing, on September 22, 2023, tuberculosis, the most infectious disease in the world, will take center stage in New York City. Global experts and scholars will discuss treatments, data, goals and progress made. Although tuberculosis can be treated, it is far from being eradicated.

Denetra continues to empower the profession of nursing, medicine and public health through scientific story-telling. Her cinematic artistry and her masterful way of using the tool of film to bring injustices to life has been invaluable.

Host this film for your academic institution, museum, library or organizational panel discussion. It is riveting.

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