top of page


ABNA History

The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s saw the emergence of Black Power, the Black Panther Party, and other displays of black pride.  There was a sense that African Americans were moving forward and finally beginning to gain the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that had been afforded white Americans.  However, there were still many battles to be fought before African Americans would see the true equity that is their right as Americans, and, sadly, the battle continues.  As the coronavirus pandemic has revealed, there are still a plethora of ‘pandemics’ ravaging the African American community:  social injustice, racial inequality, health disparities, economic inequity, and political disenfranchisement to name a few.


During this time in the early 1970s, the American Nurses Association (ANA), did not allow African American nurses in key roles nor as members.  The National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (circa 1909) had dissolved, and African American nurses saw the need for representation on a national level and, in 1971, the National Black Nurses Association was founded. 


In 1975, Darlene Ruffin Alexander, Ph.D., moved to Atlanta from Texas where she was President of the Texas Nurses Association.  Dr. Alexander, concerned about the state of black nurses nationwide and locally, realized the necessity for an organization in Atlanta to ensure that African Americans got the same care as others.  In 1978, Dr. Alexander assembled a group of black nurses together to form a steering committee to ask the question, “Where do we go from here?”  The women met at South West Community Hospital, never thinking they would join a national organization.  The women talked about different incidents they experienced as black nurses throughout the country as many were transplants to Atlanta.  They formulated a plan and that plan blossomed into the Atlanta Black Nurse Association where Dr. Alexander became its first president and served in the role for four years.  Even then, her vision was clear: 


“As we advocate for each other we get better.

We can make a difference in the lives of others”.


  • Violence Prevention

  • Global Health

  • Brain Health

    • The ABNA hosts numerous health fairs throughout the year that focus on chronic diseases that have a high percentage in the African American community.  As a result, Memory Screenings are a staple of ABNA health fairs.  Although there are more Whites living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias than any other racial or ethnic group in the United States (because Whites are the largest racial/ethnic group in the country), older Black and Hispanic Americans are disproportionately more likely than older White Americans to have Alzheimer’s or other dementias.  (2021 ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE FACTS AND FIGURES SPECIAL REPORT: Race, Ethnicity and Alzheimer's in America – Alzheimer’s Association

  • Mentorship

    • The ABNA Mentorship Program is comprehensive and matches nursing students with veteran, senior nurse mentors.  The relationships are built and fostered throughout the journey of the mentee.  The relationship begins at the beginning of their schooling, through graduation, and to the taking and completion of their state board exams to receive their Nursing Degree.

  • Scholarship Info

    • Royal Blue Scholarship Fund awards nursing students at all levels of schooling.  Through a competitive application process, the ABNA awards $1,000.00 to deserving nursing students working towards an Associate, BSN, and MSN degrees.

Get in Touch

Atlanta Black Nurses Association, Inc.

P.O. Box 87117

College Park, Georgia 30337


  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Instagram
bottom of page