Rebecca Davis Lee Crumpler – March 9th in African American History

March 9, 1895 Rebecca Davis Lee Crumpler, the first African American woman to become a physician in the United States, died.

Rebecca Davis Lee Crumpler coin

Crumpler was born February 8, 1831 in Delaware. In 1852, she moved to Charleston, Massachusetts where she worked as a nurse for eight years.

In 1864, Crumpler earned a medical degree from the New England Female Medical College, making her the first black female doctor in the United States 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.

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