- Goldmine Home
- Oral History Collections
- Levine Museum of the New South
- Professional Women
- Thereasea Delerine Elder oral history interview 1, 1993 June 25
Thereasea Delerine Elder oral history interview 1, 1993 June 25
Thereasea Elder recounts her life and career as a public health nurse in Charlotte, North Carolina. Before going into public health, Mrs. Elder was a nurse at Good Samaritan Hospital, the region's only hospital for African Americans. She discusses working at the hospital and how her job differed from that of white nurses at the segregated Charlotte Memorial Hospital. She explains that she left Good Samaritan to work in public health because she had seen what the lack of preventive services and education could do. Mrs. Elder joined the Mecklenburg County Health Department in 1962, and she discusses her experience as one of two African American nurses who integrated the public health nursing service. She also explains how the department's approach to public health nursing evolved over the years. She describes her health consulting and volunteer work with organizations including hospice, the Cancer Prevention Coalition, Energy Committed to Offenders, and the Greenville Community Historical Society. Mrs. Elder discusses growing up in the Greenville neighborhood and the negative effects the Southern Asbestos Company Mills had on the health of her family and the community. She also discusses how the African American community's perception of hospitals and the medical profession changed over time from the 1930s to the 1950s. Mrs. Elder concludes by discussing the growing problem of teen pregnancy at the time of the interview and the challenges women faced before abortion was legal and birth control was easily obtainable.