Hybrid Book Launch | The Black Angels: Maria Smilios in conversation with Sarah Patten

Image shows headshots of Maria Smilios and Sarah Patten and the cover of Smilios's book THE BLACK ANGELS

This is a hybrid event with limited in-store seating and the option to attend online.

The event is free but registration is required for both in-person and virtual attendance. 

Please click here to register for the VIRTUAL event. The link required to attend will be emailed to registrants prior to the event. 

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This event includes a book signing. If you would like a signed book but can't attend in person, you may order a signed copy online below. If you would like to have your book personalized, please order online or call the store at least two hours before the start of the event. When ordering online, use the comments field to provide a name for personalization, e.g. “To Paul.” NOTE: We do our best to get books personalized when requested but personalization is not guaranteed.

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The Black Angels: The Untold Story of the Nurses Who Helped Cure Tuberculosis
New York City, 1929. A sanatorium, a deadly disease, and a dire nurse shortage. So begins the remarkable true story of the Black nurses who helped cure one of the world’s deadliest plagues: tuberculosis.

During those dark pre-antibiotic days, when tuberculosis killed one in seven people, white nurses at Sea View, New York’s largest municipal hospital, began quitting. Desperate to avert a public health crisis, city officials summoned Black southern nurses, luring them with promises of good pay, a career, and an escape from the strictures of Jim Crow. But after arriving, they found themselves on an isolated hilltop in the remote borough of Staten Island, yet again confronting racism and consigned to a woefully understaffed facility, dubbed “the pest house” where “no one left alive.

Spanning the Great Depression and moving through World War II and beyond, this story follows the intrepid young women, the “Black Angels,” who, for twenty years, risked their lives working under dreadful conditions while caring for the city’s poorest—1,800 souls languishing in wards, waiting to die or become “guinea pigs” for experimental (often deadly) drugs. Yet despite their major role in desegregating the NYC hospital system—and regardless of their vital work in helping to find the cure for tuberculosis at Sea View—these nurses were completely erased from history. The Black Angels recovers the voices of these extraordinary women and puts them at the center of this riveting story celebrating their legacy and spirit of survival.

Maria Smilios is a native of New York City and has a Masters of Arts from Boston University in Religion & Literature where she was a Henry Luce Scholar and a Presidential Scholar and where she taught Essay & Research writing in the university’s writing program.

In 2007, she left Boston and moved back to New York City to teach at an all-girls high school. There she created and ran an intensive summer writing program for teens. Maria also spent five years at Springer Science & Media as Development Editor in the Biomedical Sciences where she worked on books in lung diseases, pediatric and breast cancer, neurology, and ocular diseases.

In the past, Maria has written for The Guardian, American Nurse, Narratively, The Rumpus, Dame Magazine, and The Jewish Daily Forward among others. The Black Angels is her first book.

Sarah C. Patten was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee and attended Cornell University where she earned her BA in English. Her focus at that time was primarily poetry. She completed her MALS in Creative Writing at Dartmouth College, where she completed her thesis, a collection of short stories entitled The Laying on of Hands.  She spent almost fifteen years working as an English teacher then Head of School at Hanger Hall before leaving those positions to pursue writing full-time. Patten's novel The Measure of Gold was published in 2021. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

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In-store and virtual attendance options
The Black Angels: The Untold Story of the Nurses Who Helped Cure Tuberculosis By Maria Smilios Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593544921
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - September 19th, 2023

The Measure of Gold By Sarah C. Patten Cover Image
ISBN: 9781735808208
Availability: Not Currently On Our Shelves. Usually Ships in 1-5 Days.
Published: Ashland Press LLC - March 2nd, 2021

SKU: x672389