Adah Belle Samuel Thoms (1870-1943) 1976 Inductee

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ANA Hall of Fame Inductee 

Adah Belle ThomsCrusader for equal opportunity for blacks in nursing, Adah Belle Samuel Thoms felt a deep sense of responsibility to improve relationships between persons of all races. A graduate of Lincoln School for Nurses in New York, Thoms served 18 years there as assistant superintendent of nurses.

She became acting director at a time when blacks rarely held high-level positions. Thoms was among the first to recognize public health as a new field of nursing. In 1917, she added a course on this subject to the school's curriculum. During her seven-year term as president of the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses, Thoms worked for acceptance of black nurses as members of the American Red Cross. She also campaigned for equal rights for black nurses in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. Thoms was an author as well as an educator and crusader. She wrote Pathfinders: A History of the Progress of Colored Graduate Nurses. In 1936, Thoms became the first nurse to receive the Mary Mahoney Medal.

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