Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler

Rebecca Lee Crumpler

Physician

Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first African American woman to obtain an M.D. degree. She began working as a nurse with no formal training, but eventually attended the New England Female Medical College and practiced in Boston. After the Civil War, she moved to Virginia where she cared for women, children, the indigent, and freed slaves – despite intense racism in the South. She eventually returned to Boston and continued treating patients even if they could not pay. Although no photos of Dr. Crumpler survived, she published a “Book of Medical Discourses” in 1883 based on her years of service. This is one of the first medical publications by an African American.

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