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History was made on Staten Island in 1951 when a breakthrough treatment for tuberculosis was developed at Sea View Hospital. Taking Care highlights the groundbreaking work, lives, and legacy of the “The Black Angels,” nurses who broke racial barriers and risked their lives to care for patients and administer the clinical trials that forever changed the trajectory of this horrific disease.

Alongside historic objects and archival images, this exhibition presents Back and Song, an immersive film and art installation by Elissa Blount Moorhead and Bradford Young that connects this significant history to the contributions of Black healthcare workers, healers, and caregivers throughout time.

Taking Care is made possible by:
Presenting Sponsor Staten Island University Hospital

Staten Island University Hospital Northwell Health Logo


JP Morgan Chase & Co Logo Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund logo


Lily Auchincloss Foundation Logo The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts


Lead sponsorship provided by JPMorgan Chase & Co.
Major support provided by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund and by the Lily Auchincloss Foundation.

Healthcare Heroes

Theresa Herring
Richmond University Medical Center
New York State Nurses Association
Dr. Kerry J. Kelly
Drs. Michael & Ginny Mantello
Wagner College Evelyn L. Spiro School of Nursing

Honor a Healthcare Hero
Honor a healthcare hero by supporting Taking Care at the Staten Island Museum.

Black and white photo of two people sitting on a bench in a gallery watching a four channel film

Back and Song installation at the Staten Island Museum. January, 2024. Christine Cruz Photography.

About the Artists

Elissa Blount Moorhead is an artist, mother, and visual storyteller exploring the poetics of Black quotidian life. She has created public art, books, exhibitions, and images for the last 25 years. She creates films and time-based installations, such as Back and Song, As of A Now, and Jay Z’s 4:44 video. Elissa has been recognized with the Sundance Institute | Comedy Central Comedy Fellowship, Saul Zaentz Innovation Fellowship, US Artists Fellowship, Creative Capital Award, and is currently developing a project in the Sundance Episodic Lab.

Artist, director and Academy Award-nominated cinematographer Bradford Young is known for his artful, poetic and humanistic visual style, as showcased in his cinematography for film and television including Ava DuVernay’s Selma and When They See Us, Ron Howard’s Solo: A Star Wars Story and Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, for which he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Cinematography in 2017— the first African American to be nominated in that category.

Two people looking at a book in a glass museum case.

Taking Care Exhibition Opening. January, 2024. Christine Cruz Photography

Curated by

Rylee Eterginoso and Gabriella Leone

Scholar Advisory Panel

Debbie-Ann Paige
Public Historian, Professional Genealogist, and Doctoral student, College of Staten Island, CUNY
Maria Smilios
Author of The Black Angels: The Untold Story of the Nurses who Helped Cure Tuberculosis 
Dr. Rita Reynolds
Associate Professor/Chair, History Department, Wagner College
Lisa Holland
Interim Library Director, Wagner College

Cynthia A. Connolly, RN, PhD
Professor of Nursing and Associate Director of the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania


The Black Angels Book Launch

This past September, the Staten Island Museum hosted Maria Smilios, author of the new book "The Black Angels: The Untold Story of the Nurses Who Helped Cure Tuberculosis", in conversation with public historian Debbie-Ann Paige and Virginia Allen, a nurse at Sea View Hospital from 1947 – 1957 to celebrate the launch of this exciting new book. The Black Angels follows the intrepid women who risked their lives caring for 1,800 patients at Staten Island’s Sea View Hospital—and aided in the 1951 clinical trial of a breakthrough tuberculosis treatment. The Black Angels centers the voices of these extraordinary women and celebrates their legacy and spirit of survival. Moderated by Gabriella Leone and filmed by Shani Mitchell.