175 Makers of History: Verdelle Bellamy

Verdelle Bellamy 63N
One of Emory's First Two African American Graduates

Verdelle Bellamy

With her classmate Allie Saxon, Verdelle Bellamy integrated Emory in 1963. She went on to become president of the Georgia Board of Nursing and was the first African American to receive an administrative appointment at the VA Hospital in Atlanta. Her work there included the creation of a 120-bed, long-term-care unit that became a model for VA hospitals around the country.

In 1974, Bellamy became the first African American to receive a gubernatorial appointment to the Georgia Board of Nursing from then-Governor Jimmy Carter; in 1978, she became the first African American president of that board.

In 1993, she was inducted into the American Academy of Nursing, the equivalent of a nursing hall of fame. She retired as associate chief of the Nursing Service for Geriatrics at the VA Medical Center in 1998.