In 1945, a group of black registered nurses in Jackson, Mississippi saw an urgent need for an organized nurses’ group. The challenges they faced individually were insurmountable at best given the climate for black – and especially black women who dominated the field at that time. These nurses worked tirelessly to form a group that could provide resources and support for professionals who nurses were so desperately needed in our state. The steering committee saw many late-night meetings, which forced them to pool resources to create something bigger than all of them could create individually. The City of Jackson and surrounding areas eventually saw their bold efforts to fruition as the then-dubbed Black Registered Nurses’ Club became a reality.
In the late fifties, the name was changed to the Eliza Pillars Registered Nurses’ Club in honor of Miss Eliza Farish Pillars. Miss Pillars was the first black registered nurse to be employed by the Mississippi State Board of Health on February 1, 1926. Her portrait, as of 1991, now hangs in Mississippi State Board of Health foyer. Miss Pillars was born in Jackson, Mississippi on April 26, 1892 and died June 15, 1970 at the age of 78. Miss Pillars is buried Garden Memorial Park in Jackson.
Miss Pillars was the fourteenth and last recipient of the Mary Mahoney Medal for distinguished service to nursing and the community at the Essex House in New York, January 25, 1957. This medal was the highest award given by the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses.
The vision of our predecessors continued to manifest and in 1984, organizational plans for the State Association began. The association was divided into seven thriving statewide districts and the name was changed to its current nom de plume – The Eliza Pillars Registered Nurses of Mississippi (EPRNM).
Past State Presidents
|Eulanda Armstrong||District IV||2013-2015|
|Kaye Killings Mayfield||District IV||2011-2013|
|Betty Young||District V||2009-2011|
|Barbara Field||District I||2007-2009|
|Dr. Audwin Fletcher||District IV||2005-2007|
|Cheryl Rainey||District I||2003-2005|
|Dr. Sonja Fuqua||District IV||2001-2003|
|Meg Brown||District VI||1999-2001|
|Stella Harris||District IV||1997-1999|
|Dr. Renée Williams||District IV||1995-1997|
|Delores Johnson||District V||1993-1995|
|Norma West||District VI||1991-1993|
|Rita Wray||District IV||1989-1991|
|Margaret Johnson||District IV||1985-1989|