Jessica Sleet, R.N. received her nurses training t the renowned Provident Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. Provident Hospital was known as a hospital for Black patients with Black nurses’ training school for women. In October 1900, tuberculosis outbreaks were widespread among the African American populous. Despite having the knowledge that the tuberculosis committee members did not desire to hire her coupled with the fact that her employment was only temporary, Jessica Sleet undertook the challenge of becoming the first Black Public Health District Nurse.
Her tasks as district nurse included going into the communities where Blacks lived both to do district visiting and to persuade those African Americans affected by TB to accept treatment. Jessica Sleet performed her duties so well, that in a years’ time she had earned a permanent position within the Charity Organization Society’s (COS) tuberculosis committee. Her diligence, perseverance and commitment to a purpose higher than oneself paved the way for African American nurses to practice in the field of public health nursing.