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Vibrant Lives. Vibrant Stories.
Dr. Eva Noles 1919 - 2015

This biography was originally released on August 23, 2022 as a part of our on going series titled: Vibrant Lives. Vibrant Stories.
Written by Madison Matthews on the Staff of The Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission

Dr. Eva Noles was born April 5, 1919 in Cleveland, Ohio. Noles lived with her family in Youngstown, Ohio and Chicago, Illinois before settling in Buffalo, New York in 1925. When Noles was nine she was enrolled in the former Bennett Park Elementary School in 1928. Then in 1932 she graduated from Hutchinson Central High School now known as Hutch Tech. Four years later, Noles applied to the Buffalo City Hospital’s three-year diploma nursing school where African Americans typically were not accepted. However, she was accepted and in 1940 she finished at the top of her class and became the first African American woman to be trained as a registered nurse in Buffalo, New York.

After Noles graduated from the nursing school, she attended a nursing program at what is now known as EJ Meyer Memorial, Sisters and Columbus Hospitals. Even though she attended the nursing program she was not fully accepted into the program and faced many forms of racial prejudice. Therefore, Noles left the program and became a hired nurse at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1945. Eventually Noles became the first black staff nurse at Roswell and then she became the head nurse with her courage and determination.


Moving along into her career, she was named the instructor of nursing and then became the Assistant Director of Nursing. In her last three years at Roswell she became the Director of Nursing, before finally retiring in 1974. After establishing herself at Roswell, she went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing in 1962 and a Master of Arts degree in Education in 1967 from the University of Buffalo. Later on, Noles joined the Medical Personnel Pool as a home care supervisor and then she was named as a staff developer for the firm. Continuing with Noles’ accomplishments she founded the New York State Nurses Week in 1970 which is celebrated every year from May 24th to May 30th. Noles then published two books. “Six Decades of Nursing at Roswell Park, 1914-1974” at Roswell Park in 1975; “Buffalo’s Blacks: Talking Proud at Noles Publishing in 1986; “Black History: A Different Approach - A Compilation at Noles Publishing in 1988. 

Alongside Dr. Eva Noles’s accomplishments, she has many more. Noles worked on the New York State Board of Nursing the New York State Nurses Association District One while being an active member of the American Nurses Association (ANA) and many of their other national committees. She has also worked on the Buffalo General Hospital Board of Trustees and has been chairwoman of the governing board of the Community Mental Health Center of the hospital. Besides that, she’s been a member of the Board of Directors for the Greater Buffalo Chapter of the American Red Cross, which earned her a national award. Noles has also earned many other awards such as the Uncrowned Queens Institute’s Culture Keepers award in 2002 for magnificent contributions to African-American culture in Western New York. 

Sadly, Dr. Eva Noles died on December 12,  2015. 


Thank you to our sources:

We want to give a special thanks to Uncrowned Community Builders and Roswell Park for providing the information for this story. Further readings on Dr. Eva Noles are available on their websites.

If you have additional resources about Dr. Eva Noles, please email us to let us know!

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