Updated: Mar 19, 2021
In 1852, Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler moved to Charleston, MA to work as a nurse. In 160, she applied to medical school and was accepted into the New England Female Medical College. In 1864, Rebecca became the New England Female Medical College's first and only African American graduate, as the school closed its doors in 1873. To put it into perspective, only 300 out of the 54,543 physicians in the United States in 1860 were women, and none of them were African American. Crumpler moved to Richmond, VA after the Civil War, where she worked with other Black doctors who were caring for formerly enslaved people in the Freedmen's Bureau. She also wrote a book, "A Book of Medical Discourses in Two Parts," which was published in 1883. The book addresses children's and women's health and is written for "mothers, nurses, and all who may desire to mitigate the afflictions of the human race."