Ms. Fannie Starks was born in New Orleans,
Louisiana on November 25, 1922 to William and Florence
Porter Starks. She was the only daughter and the youngest
of three children. Following the death of her parents-her
father when she was six years old and her mother when
she was ten years old-she was raised by her maternal
grandparents. She graduated from Xavier University High
School at sixteen and was too young to go off to nursing
school. Therefore, she continued her education at a
local business school, taking courses in math, english,
Starks went to Kansas City (Missouri) General Hospital
No. 2 and received her nursing diploma in 1945. Ms.
Starks accepted her first professional position at the
University of Oklahoma Hospital in Oklahoma City along
with a group of her classmates. She migrated to Detroit
in the late 1940s and began her career in obstetrical
nursing at Wayne Diagnostic Hospital, which was later
renamed to Burton Mercy Hospital.
to school in the early 1960s and earned the Bachelor
of Science in Nursing degree from Wayne State University
in 1964. Ms. Starks earned her master's degree in 1974.
She continued to work at Burton Mercy Hospital until
it closed in 1974.
on to teach in the nursing program at Highland Park
Community College from 1974 until that school was closed
has been an active member of the Negro Business and
Professional Women's Club of Detroit, as well as Nursing
segregation in medical/nursing education and the quality
of care in black hospitals
Diagnostic Hospital] was quite a very unique and satisfying
experience for me. Like I said, I came from a background
at Kansas City General where all the black doctors were.
They either came to Kansas City for their internship
and residency, or they went to Homer Phillips, or they
went to Grady. Few of them went anyplace else. At that
time, they couldnt. So, I was accustomed to being with
and around and taught by top black doctors.
when I went to Oklahoma, I understood the situation
I was in, but I also knew I was working with qualified
physicians. So when I came to Wayne, then Wayne Diagnostic,
my thoughts were, now wait a minute, I dont want to
be here if Im working with just anybody. But, I knew
right away that I was working with top black physicians
and that they were coming in there because they couldnt
go anyplace else. Thats why I know the Boddies and
the [Charles] Wrights and the Waldo Cains because thats
where they came [from]. It was a very satisfying learning
experience for me and thats why I stayed. And stayed,
and stayed there until I got my masters. And it was
hard. It would have been much harder for me to leave.
It had then become Burton Mercy. It would have been
much harder for me to leave, but at the time I completed
my masters, they were closing the hospital.