2/24/14 Black History Hero: Rebecca Lee Crumpler


Rebecca Davis Lee Crumpler (February 8, 1831 – March 9, 1895) was an American physician. Rebecca Lee was the first African-American woman to become a physician in the United States.She married Dr. Arthur Crumpler after the Civil War. Her publication of A Book of Medical Discourses in 1883 was one of the first written by an African American about medicine In 1831, Rebecca Davis Lee was born in Delawareto Matilda Webber and Absolum Davis. She was

raised in Pennsylvania by an aunt who cared for infirm neighbors; During the antebellum years, medical care for poor blacks was almost non-existent.[citation needed] She moved to Charlestown, Massachusetts by 1852 and was employed as a nurse until she was accepted into theNew England Female Medical College in 1860.[1][2][nb 2] It was rare for women or black men to be admitted to medical schools, during this time.[2] When she graduated in 1864, Rebecca Lee (later Crumpler) was the first African American woman in the United States to earn an M.D. degree, and the only African American woman to graduate from New England Female Medical College.[1][nb 3]

Crumpler describes the progression of experiences that led her to study and practice medicine in her A Book of Medical Discourses (1883)

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