Colonel Bailey was born in Selma, AL. She graduated from Dunbar High School, Fraternal Hospital, School of Nursing, Montgomery, AL in 1938 and in 1959 from San Francisco State College with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
Colonel Bailey’s civilian nursing career began at Mercy Hospital, St. Petersburg, FL. From Florida she continued her career at Sea View Hospital, Staten Island, NY. In June 1944 she entered the Army Nurse Corps.
The first black woman promoted to the rank of Colonel in the Army Nurse Corps, Colonel Bailey served in successive demanding positions that include assignments as Chief, Nursing Service of the 130th General Hospital, Chinon, France, becoming the first black nurse named Chief Nurse of a totally integrated hospital in the Army; Chief Nurse in Wurzburg, Germany and Fort Devens, MA. She also was assigned to the Job Corps Health Office, Manpower Division, Department of Labor, as a Health Manpower Training Specialist working with young people, ages 16-1, out of school and out of work. She considered this assignment highly rewarding.
During her 27 year career she traveled extensively, visiting more than twenty-four countries in Europe and the near and Far East for a total of nine years abroad. Upon her retirement in 1971, Colonel Bailey was awarded the Legion of Merit, the second highest non-combat award.
Since her retirement she has remained active in nursing, civic and community organizations. Colonel Bailey resides in Silver Spring, Maryland.
We honor you, Margaret Bailey.