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Salaria Kea


Salaria Kea

Kea, Salaria. (Kea); b. July 13, 1913, Georgia (Akron, Ohio); AMB; Nursing education through Harlem Hospital Training School; Single (Married in Spain); Nurse; CP 1935 and Spanish CP; Received passport# 378164 on March 24, 1937 which listed her address as Harlem Hospital, NYC, and 289 Livingston Place, Akron, Ohio; Sailed March 27, 1938 aboard the Paris; Arrived in Spain on April 7, 1938; Served with the Republican Medical Services, American Hospital at Villa Paz; Returned to the US on May 16, 1938 aboard the Queen Mary;  WWII US Army, Nurse; d. May 18, 1990, Akron, Ohio.

 Source: Sail, SACB, RA, A Negro Nurse in Republican Spain, SSN.

Photograph:  Salaria Kea, VALB/ALBA.



Salaria Kea was born on July 13, 1913 in Georgia. When Kea was six months old, her father, a worker in a sanitarium, was killed by a patient. Her mother then took Salaria and three other children to Akron, Ohio. When her mother returned to Georgia she left her children in the care of family friends. Kea's three older brothers supported her while she completed school. During her summer vacations Kea worked in the offices of a local doctor, an experience that would influence her choice of vocations. After Kea completed high school three nursing schools in the Akron area refused to admit her because of her race. In June 1930 Kea moved to New York to enter the Harlem Hospital Training School from which she graduated in 1934. She worked for Sea View Hospital and then for Harlem Hospital. While working in Harlem, Kea associated with left-wing groups and joined the Communist Party in 1935. In 1936 Kea volunteered as a Red Cross nurse to assist victims of disastrous floods in the Midwest, but her services were refused on account of her race. Shortly thereafter she learned of a U.S. medical mission preparing to serve in Spain. Salaria Kea left for Spain, aboard the Paris, on March 27, 1937. She sailed in a party of twelve nurses and doctors. In Spain she was assigned to the American Hospital at Villa Paz. There she met Pat O'Reilly, who had been wounded while serving with a British International unit. They were married at the hospital and subsequently made a life together in the United States. In late 1938 she returned to the United States, on board the Queen Mary, to help rally support for the Spanish cause. Kea resettled in New York and for a time made speeches on the Spanish cause before a variety of groups, including churches, schools, and the NAACP. Later she taught classes for practical nurses and nurses' aides. Kea served in the Army Nurse Corps in the last months of World War II. Her experience in the Spanish Civil War was highly valued by her superiors. Pat O'Reilly rejoined his wife when the international volunteers were withdrawn from Spain. They settled in Akron where she died in 1991. ~ Chris Brooks

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ALBA PHOTO #13, Box 02, f. #9_Salaria Kea

Salaria Kea in Spain

Full Database Record

Last Name Kea
First/Middle Name Salaria
Ethnicity Note
Immigration Status
AKA Last Name 1
AKA First / Middle 1
AKA Last Name 2
AKA First / Middle 2
Foreign Nation
Foreign Nation City
Alt Pob State, City
Family: Name
Family: Relationship
Family: Begin Date
Family: End Date
Family: Comments
Education HS
Education College / Univ 1
Education College/Univ Notes
Education College/Univ 2
Graduate or Doctoral Work
Graduate or Doctoral Work Notes
Prior Military Service
Passport #
Passport Series
Passport Reported Lost in Spain
Passport Age
Passport Date
PP or Known Address Street
PP or Known Address City
PP or Known Address State
ALT City
Alt State
Sail Date
Marital Status
Marital Notes
Vocation 1
Vocation 2
Vocation 3
Party Affiliation
Date Affiliation
ALT Affiliation
ALT date
ALT affiliation 2
Arrival (in Spain) Date
Units served with
Battle action
Returned Date
Returned other
WWII Service
Place Died City
KIA/MIA/Died other
KIA/MIA/Died other Date
KIA/MIA/Died other Location
KIA/MIA/Died other Battle
Additional Notes