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Medical College of South Carolina

Anna Decosta Banks, RN

Anna DeCosta Banks, RN

Anna DeCosta Banks, RN, was a pioneer in the nursing profession—the first head nurse at the Hospital and Training School for Nurses, a segregated institution organized for the purpose of training black nurses with a hospital of their own. She was born on September 2, 1869, in Charleston, South Carolina, during the Reconstruction Era. The daughter of Samuel and Elizabeth DeCosta, Anna DeCosta was educated in the Charleston Public Schools, graduating from Virginia’s Hampton Institute in 1891. Enrolling in Hampton’s Dixie Hospital of Nursing, she was among its first graduates and, in 1895, served as head nurse at this hospital training school. Returning to Charleston, she followed her dream to the Hospital and Training School for Nurses, located at 135 Cannon Street. After her tenure as head nurse, she subsequently rose to become Superintendent of Nurses, serving in that capacity for 32 years. 

A wing of the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) is named in her honor for her service to the State of South Carolina.

More on Anna DeCosta Banks

Medical College of South Carolina
Queen and Franklin Streets- Circa 1825

"In the debate over whether men move events more often than they rise to meet them, the history of the Medical University will show that the balance would be in favor of the former but not by much. It would show that the clearly, however, the resilience of the institution as the men who built it adopted one or the other stance and insured its long-term survival.

The lives of these men who made the Medical Center span a period of over 200 years and reflect the attitudes, culture, and medical thinking of the times in which they lived. No two seem to have been much alike insofar as available evidence can tell us about them, but all shared at least three qualities in common: keen intellect, interest in education, and devotion to medicine. They dreamed, they organized, they built, they survived, they organized and they built again. They brought the school into the 20th century and they dreamed, organized, and built once more, delivering to our generation a dynamic and secure institution prepared to meet new challenges and to take South Carolina medicine into the 21st century. It is the story of dedicated men; it is a success story; it is a story of triumph over schism, war, defeat, occupation, natural disaster, regional stagnation, and national depression. As a member of the faculty once said, "It is indestructible; if it were not it would be gone by now."

A Family Album
Men Who Mad the Medical Center
W. Curtis Worthington, M.D.
Harold Rawling Pratt-Thomas, M.D.
Warren A. Sawyer, M.S.
Copyright  © 1991 Medical University of South Carolina

MUSC Waring Library
The Waring Historical Library, named for the first director of the Historical Library, is located adjacent to the Basic Sciences Building on the Medical University Campus. The library houses books, journals, manuscript items and museum artifacts dealing with the history of the health sciences. The Library also houses many manuscripts and additional information on the history of MUSC.


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