The First African American female General and the First Black Chief of the United States Army Nursing Corps
1. Hazel Johnson Brown served in the United States Army from 1955 until 1983. During her military career, she made history by becoming the first African American female General in 1979 and the first African American Chief of the United States Army Nursing Corps. As Chief of the US Army Nursing Corps, she was responsible for 7,000 men and women nurses in the Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserves. Hazel Johnson-Brown was also responsible for eight Army medical centers, 56 community hospitals, and 143 freestanding clinics in the U.S. and abroad.
2. Brigadier General Johnson received her nursing training from the Harlem Hospital School of Nursing and received her diploma from the school in 1950. She enrolled at this institution because her application to the Westchester School of Nursing was rejected due to her race.
3. Hazel Johnson is a proud member of Dela Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
4. During her historic military career, Brigadier General Hazel Johnson won many awards. These included the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal, and the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Cluster. She was also twice named the Army Nurse of the Year.
5. After receiving her degree from Harlem Hospital School of Nursing, Hazel Johnson Brown continued to educate herself. She went on to receive a Bachelor’s Degree from Villanova University in 1959, a Master’s Degree from Columbia University in 1963 and a Doctorate in in Educational Administration from Catholic University.
6. General Johnson was also a tremendous educator and continued to add to her legacy even after her retirement from the military. During this time period, she served as Director of Government Affairs for the American Nursing Association, as an adjunct Professor of Nursing at George Washington University, and as a Professor of Nursing at George Mason University. While at George Mason University she helped found the Center for Health Policy. This center’s purpose was to educate and involve nurses in health policy and police design. Prior to her retirement from the military, she also served as an Associate Dean of the Undergraduate Program of the School of Nursing at the University of Maryland. Here her primary responsibility was for training the students that were to be sent to military health facilities around the world.
7. Hazel Winifred Johnson was born on Oct. 10, 1927 in Malvern, Pennsylvania. She was one of seven children and was raised on her father’s farm in Westchester, PA. Brigadier General Hazel W. Johnson-Brown made her transition on August 5, 2011 and was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
Videos Featuring General Hazel Johnson-Brown
The videos below were made by the Visionary Project and featured Brigadier General Hazel W. Johnson-Brown speaking on her childhood, her parents, the appeal of the U.S. Army, her education, what she thinks young African Americans should be doing, and the area where she is from.