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American nurse who marched for civil rights
Adele Herwitz has died aged 92 of complications after a stroke. She represented the American Nurses Association (ANA) on the 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom - the largest political rally for human rights in the history of the United States.
The rally for civil and economic rights for African Americans took place in Washington DC and was where Martin Luther King Jr delivered his historic 'I have a dream' speech.
Adele initially wanted to be a doctor, but could not afford medical school, so she trained as a nurse at the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. She joined the US Army Nurse Corps and, during the second world war, was stationed in Australia, the Admiralty Islands in the South Pacific, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.
This military experience served her well. Nursing journalist Thelma Schorr said of Adele: 'She knew how to take orders, as well as give them.'
After the war Adele worked at a veterans hospital in New York and gained a degree in nursing education at Columbia University in 1952. She worked for 17 years for the ANA and became its executive director.
From 1970 to 1977, Adele was executive director of the International Council of Nurses in Geneva, Switzerland, championing the causes of nurses around the world.
She returned to the US as founding executive director of the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools, an organisation preparing foreign nurses for state licensing tests. Her work at the commission led to the creation of the Adele Herwitz distinguished scholars' programme.
Adele's favourite colours were turquoise, black and red. She used to say: 'I am not a beige kind of person.'
obituary : january 18 :: vol 26 no 20 :: 2011