Imogene Bunn

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Imogene Bunn (1912-2002) was a civil rights activist and a co-founder of the Charlottesville chapter of the NAACP.


Bunn received her degree in public health nursing from Michigan State University. She moved to Charlottesville with her husband, Benjamin, in 1945. She became the first Black nurse in the area, who was assigned to visit patients in their homes regardless of race, as well as the first Black public health nursing administrator in the state. Bunn single-handedly desegregated three healthcare facilities in the area, including UVA Hospital. She fought for higher acceptance of Black nurses to the University and acceptance within the community. Together, the Bunns were politically active, campaigning for and endorsing candidates in a community that broadly wanted to exclude Black people from politics. The two were posthumously recognized as Bridge Builders.[1]

On October 27, 1960, the local chapter of the Virginia Council on Human Relations chose to create a pamphlet on issues facing the Black community including difficulty purchasing homes and having access to well-paying jobs. Bunn was present at the meeting and discussed obstacles to employment[2]

Frances Brand portrait

Bunn is one of several people commemorated by the late 20th-century artist Frances Brand as part of her Firsts series.[3]

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  1. Web. BridgeBuilders 2001-2016, Preservation Piedmont, 2019, retrieved 16 June, 2022.
  2. Web. Pamphlet to Report Negro Life, Daily Progress Digitized Microfilm, Lindsay family, October 28, 1960, retrieved October 27, 2022. Print. October 28, 1960 page 3.
  3. Branigan, Michelle Marie (December 1998). A Biography of Frances Brand, an American Painter and Social Activist (PhD). Indiana University.

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