Emma Reynolds Head Teacher Personal Statement
For the British politician, see Emma Reynolds.
Emma Ann Reynolds (1862-1917) was an African-American teacher, who had a desire to address the health needs of her community. Refused entrance to nurses training schools because of racism, she influenced the creation of Provident Hospital in Chicago and was one of its first four nursing graduates. Continuing her education, Reynolds became a medical doctor serving at posts in Texas, Louisiana and Washington, D.C. before permanently settling in Ohio and completing her practice there.
Emma Ann Reynolds was born on August 3, 1862 in Frankfort, Ross County, Ohio to Sarah (née Jones) and William Reynolds. After completing her education at Wilberforce University she moved to Kansas City, Missouri where four of her brothers lived and taught school for seven years. During her teaching, she recognized the health needs of the African-American community, and attempted to enroll in nursing school in Chicago. She was repeatedly refused entrance because she was black. Seeking help from her brother, Rev. Louis H. Reynolds, pastor of St. Stephens African Methodist Episcopal Church on the west side of Chicago, the two approached well-known Dr. Daniel Hale Williams in December 1890. Williams had previously recognized the need for both trained nursing staff and hospital beds for negro patients, as well as employment opportunities for interns, physicians and surgeons. Reynolds' need, spurred a decision that rather than use his influence to help her gain entrance to a white nurses' training facility, he should instead convince the black community to found their own hospital. In May, 1891, the Provident Hospital was opened, with the goal of allowing interracial staff and patients, as well of establishing a training facility for nurses of any race.
Reynolds enrolled in the first nursing class, completing her training eighteen months later, and graduated on 27 October 1892 along with Bertha I. Estes, Florence Phillips and Lillian E. Reynolds. The year of her graduation, she enrolled in a medical degree program at Northwestern University Women's Medical School, as the first black student of the school. She graduated as the first African-American woman to complete the training in 1895. From her graduation until 1896, Reynolds served as the supervisor of the Training School for Nurses, before becoming the resident physician of the Paul Quinn College in 1896. Two years later, she moved to New Orleans, where in spite of racism she remained until July 1900. While she was in New Orleans, Reynolds was active as a club member, serving as one of the officers of the state colored Temperance Union and Afro-American Woman’s Club of New Orleans. She founded and organized the Visiting Nurses Association under the women’s club umbrella to furnish free nursing to the poor.
On 23 July 1900, Reynolds took up what initially was to be a temporary three-month position, as the head nurse at Howard University's Freedman's Hospital. She remained at Freedman's Hospital through 1901, serving on the nursing faculty in dietetics, but the following year, returned to Ohio to care for her ailing parents. She established a practice in Sulphur Lick, Ohio, practicing there until her death.
Death and legacy
Reynolds died of heart disease on January 11, 1917 in Huntington Township, Ross County, Ohio and was buried at Davis Cemetery near Waverly, Ohio on January 13. In 1990, a tombstone was erected in her honor at the Greenlawn Cemetery in Frankfort by the Provident Hospital Nurse Alumni Association. Reynolds was inducted into the Chillicothe-Ross County Women’s Hall of Fame in 1991 in recognition of her medical contributions and in 1994, she was inducted into the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame. In 2001, she was recognized for her pioneering role during Women's Month, by the U.S. House of Representatives.
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- Royster, Jacqueline Jones (2003). Profiles of Ohio Women, 1803-2003. Ohio University Press. ISBN 978-0-8214-1508-5.
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Ohio Women's Hall of Fame
Governors are very pleased to announce the appointment of Emma Reynolds as Principal of Frome College with effect from September 2017. Emma is currently Headteacher of The Bulmershe School in Wokingham, Berkshire. She has substantial experience in school leadership and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). Her passion and commitment for the arts was realised last summer when The Bulmershe School was one of the three finalists for Gareth Malone’s ‘The Choir – Best in Britain’ on the BBC.
Emma said “I am delighted to have been appointed as Principal of Frome College and feel privileged to be the leader of this vibrant and exciting centre for learning.
I am passionate about opportunities for all young people to be inspired to develop their individual talents, gifts and skills and to strive to do the best they can through a thirst for learning that will stand them in good stead throughout their lives.
I believe strongly that we must focus on providing a curricular experience for our students that prepares them well for their aspirations, using their talents, gifts and energy to contribute positively to our global community. We must support our students to be happy, challenged and resilient learners, underpinned by the strong foundations of discipline, self-esteem and community as well as a focus on ensuring the basics of respect, tolerance, compassion and personal responsibility.”
We all look forward to welcoming Emma in September.