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Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler: First Black Female Doctor


Dr. Rebecca Lee  Crumpler was born in Delaware in 1831, Crumpler was raised by an aunt who was dedicated to caring for sick neighbors and friends.  At the age of 21, young Rebecca moved to Charleston, Mass., to work as a nurse for the next eight years.  The first formal nursing school wouldn’t open for another 20  years, so she was able to practice nursing without any sort of degree.  In 1860, 29-year-old Rebecca Crumpler entered the New England Female Medical College.  Upon graduation, she became the first black female doctor in the United States, and the only African-American woman to graduate from that college, which closed in 1873.

She practiced in Boston until the end of the Civil War.  Then, in 1866, she moved to Richmond, Va., to help those affected by the devastation of the war.  It was here, among a black population of 30,000, that she felt she could learn most about “the diseases of women and children.”  Despite enduring horrific racism and sexism, she, along with other brave black doctors, cared for freed slaves who otherwise would have received no medical care.

She returned to Boston, living in a mostly black neighborhood, caring for women and children until her retirement in 1880.  She died in 1895.  Although no photos of her remain, we can all imagine a face that reflects both the determination and compassion that guided her life.

Bio Courtesy of: Latimesblogs.com


  • What other literature is there available on this remarkable black woman?

  • I Really Wanna Know, She’s My New Idol <3 :)

  • she sounds like an amazing women i wan’t to be a doctor

  • […] On February 24th, 1864, Rebecca Lee Crumpler became the first Black Woman to receive a M.D. … http://thesavvysistah.com/savvy-spotlight/dr-rebecca-lee-crumpler-first-black-female-doctor/ . On March 6th, 2013 is National Reparations Day… http://www.cbpm.org/reparations.html On […]

  • Thank You so much I feel as though I have stumbled on a gold mine.

  • We are so proud of you

  • I really like that woman

  • It was a joy & humbling & much thanksgiving to Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler who overcame so much hardship to become a gift and treasure not only to Black America but to the world. I thank God for this courageous, gifted and strong woman. She lived what the song writer penned, “If I can help someone, then my living won’t be in vain. I am encouraged, empowered, and fully persuaded I will continue to do my very best to become a change agent for the good in the community – and many thanks to Dr. Crumpler. Grace and Gratitude,
    Rev. Diane Fields Spruill

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