February 8th in African American History – Rebecca Davis Lee Crumpler

February 8, 1831 Rebecca Davis Lee Crumpler, the first African American woman to become a physician in the United States, was born in Delaware.

In 1852, Crumpler moved to Charleston, Massachusetts where she worked as a nurse for eight years.

In 1864, she earned a medical degree from the New England Female Medical College, making her the first African American woman in the United States to earn that degree and the only African American to graduate from that college. After the end of the Civil War in 1865, Crumpler moved to Richmond, Virginia where she joined other black physicians caring for formerly enslaved people who otherwise had no access to medical care. Crumpler authored “A Book of Medical Discourses” in 1883 and died March 9, 1895.


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