On this day, February 24, in 1864, Rebecca Lee Crumpler (born in 1833) became the first Black woman to to receive the M.D. degree. She graduated from the New England Female Medical College. But first, she would work as a nurse from 1852 to 1860 in Massachusetts. According to the National Institutes of Health, she was raised by her aunt who spent a lot of time caring for sick neighbors which probably guided her career path.
Crumpler was also the only African American woman to graduate from the New England Female Medical College. It closed in 1873. Little is known about her life, but she has secured her place in history with her published work, “Book of Medical Discourses.” Her book was full with medical advice for women and children and published in 1883.
Read more about this remarkable woman here.