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Who is Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler?

Dr. Crumpler is the first African American woman in the United States to earn an M.D. degree. She earned her degree from the New England Female Medical College (the first school to train women M.D.s) In 1883, Crumpler published “Book of Medical Discourses: In Two Parts”, one of the very first medical publications by an African American. Her book focuses on treating illnesses in infants, children and women.

Interesting note: There are no verified photographs of Dr. Crumpler. A google search may provide you with images, however, it is said that these photos are most likely photographs of others (Rebecca Cole, Mary Eliza Mahoney, and Elizabeth Blackwell - all of which are Black women who were pioneers in medicine). I originally had a photo for this post but upon learning this fact, I decided to use the image of her book instead.

Additionally, she was buried in an unmarked grave in Boston until The Friends of Hyde Park Library created a fundraiser to give Rebecca and her husband proper burial markers. February 8, 2021 has been proclaimed as Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler day in the City of Boston by Mayor Martin Walsh in honor of her 190th anniversary of her birth.

Crumpler’s home, in Beacon Hill, is featured on the Boston Black Heritage Trail.

You are a trailblazer, Dr. Crumpler!

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