Della Hayden Raney Jackson was born in Suffolk, Virginia on January 10, 1912 to George H and Willie V. Raney. Raney graduated from Durham’s Lincoln Hospital School of Nursing in 1937. After graduation, she worked as the operating room supervisor at Lincoln Hospital. When the United States entered World War II, Raney applied to the Army Nurse Corps but was denied because she was an African American. Until 1941, the US Army did not allow African American women to enlist as nurses. In 1941, the Army partially lifted the ban on African American nurses and enlisted fifty-six African American women. Raney became the first African American nurse enlisted in the US Army Nurse Corps, at the rank of 2nd Lieutenant. Due to segregation in the Army, Raney and other African American nurses could only care for African American service men. She was sent to Fort Bragg and chosen to lead the Fort Bragg nurses. After serving six months at Fort Bragg, Raney passed the chief nursing examination and was promoted to First Lieutenant. In 1942, Raney moved to lead the nurses assigned to the Tuskegee Army Air, becoming the first African American appointed as a Chief Nurse in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. Raney was promoted to Captain in 1945 and in 1946 Raney was promoted again to the rank of Major and served an extensive tour of duty with the occupation force in Japan. Raney retired from the Army in 1978. This scrapbook, compiled by Raney, contains photographs, clippings, an Association of Military Surgeons' Certificate, and other ephemera connected with the Tuskegee Flying School.
For additional information about African American Nurses during World War Two please read this Collection Story about Raney and her fellow nurses.