This Day in Black History: Oct. 10, 1927

Hazel Johnson Brown, first African-American female brigadier general in the U.S. Army, is born.

Posted: 10/10/2012 08:00 AM EDT

On Oct. 10, 1927, Hazel Johnson Brown, the first African-American woman to become a U.S. Army general, was born in West Chester, Pennsylvania. Brown worked as a military nurse and made history in 1979 when she was simultaneously promoted to brigadier general and put in command of 7,000 nurses in the Army Nurse Corps.

Brown’s stellar career earned her military decorations such as the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal and Army Commendation Medal. She was twice named Army Nurse of the Year.

“Race is an incidence of birth,” Gen. Johnson-Brown said at the time of her promotion. “I hope the criterion for selection didn’t include race but competence.”

She died in 2011 at age 83.


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(Photo: Craig Herndon/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

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