Mrs. Gladys Dillard was born in Detroit
on August 6, 1921. Her parents, Albert A. and Lucy Patton
Somerville, migrated to Detroit from Greensboro, Alabama
after her father's return from his World War I tour
of duty in Europe. She graduated from Cass Technical
High School in 1939 and enrolled in Wayne University.
she was interested in obtaining a nursing degree, she
had to transfer to the Freedmen's Hospital nursing program
at Howard University in 1941. She received her nursing
diploma in 1944 and returned to Detroit. She was then
granted the Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from
Wayne University and became their first African American
began her career with the Detroit Health Department
as a public health nurse in 1944. She then left the
department in 1948 and returned in 1963 after raising
her children. She became a supervisor of field nurses
in 1965 and an administrator of several clinics beginning
in 1969. She also did private duty nursing at Harper,
Redford Receiving, and Henry Ford Hospitals.
earned her master's degree in public health from the
University of Michigan in 1972. At that point her nursing
career changed to that of consultant for the Health
Dillard retired from public health nursing in 1983.
a member of Chi Eta Phi, an African American nursing
sorority, Delta Sigma Theta sorority, the National Association
for the Advancement of Colored People, and the Detroit
District Nurses Association.
Mrs. Dillard's community involvement has recently included
her association with the WestSiders, a group which developed
and published a community family album of memories entitled,
Remembering Detroit's Old Westside, 1920-1950 (1997).