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Western Kentucky Woman Changing the Medical Field

October 28, 2010 in 1920s-30s, 1940s-1950s, Social history

               Born near Winchester, Kentucky, in Butler County was a very intelligent woman who was the first registered nurse in Bowling Green, Kentucky. At the age of ten, Ora Porter and her family moved from Butler County to Bowling Green Kentucky, where she graduated from Tuskegee Institute School of Nursing. During her lifetime (1880-1970), she was also an organizer of the George Washington Carver Community Center, a local Interracial Commission after World War II (not to be confused with the World War I era’s Commission on Interracial Cooperation in the deep South that spawned the Southern Regional Council by the 1940s), and an active campaigner for civic improvement.

               At one point Porter was the only registered nurse in Western Kentucky too! She was an extraordinary woman activist during a very important stage in women’s history. Ora Porter’s determination led to one of the most historical events in women’s history. Dating back to the 1800s, many women were not given the chance to show their intelligence, but Ora helped the process of bridging the gap between men and women in the medical field. It is even crazier that the medical field is gender diversified today to the point that there are more women in the nursing field than men! Ora Porter was not the only woman with a drive to become a nurse, but is the noted and celebrated as the first registered nurse in western Kentucky.

“Historical Marker Dedicated,” Warren County Medical Society. http://www.warrencountymedicalsociety.org/Ora%20Porter.htm


“2149 Ora Porter Historical Marker,” Mapping Kentucky History Warren County Markers – CommunityWalk


See also the interviews with Shella Procter and Alice Ruther Procter: “The life of Miss Ora Porter, Warren County’s First Registered Nurse” in the Robert J. Gates Collection, Western Kentucky University Folklife Archives, Bowling Green, Kentucky

1 response to Western Kentucky Woman Changing the Medical Field

  1. Because of great citizens like Ora Porter many more people in today’s society are able to get jobs once thought impossible. Ms. Porter single handedly made it possible for my mother to get her nursing job in Owensboro!

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