Rebecca Lee Crumpler, “History Adorned” series
Rebecca Lee Crumpler (1831 – 1895) was the first African American female physician in the United States and the only female physician to write a book in the nineteenth century. Her 1883 publication, A Book of Medical Discourses, offered preventative and wellness advise for maternal and pediatric health. Despite being newly widowed, she graduated from the New England Female Medical College in Boston with a medical degree in 1864. She was the only African American in the school. After the Civil War, Crumpler worked as a physician for the Freeman Bureau in Richmond, VA, where she provided medical care to the formerly enslaved. In Richmond, she endured racism and sexism from the administrative staff and fellow doctors making her time there an arduous one. She and her second husband moved to Beacon Hill, Boston in late 1869 where she established a private practice dedicated to providing care to the under served. It was during this time, she published her medical book. She died at 64 in Hyde Park, Massachusetts. In 2020, her unmarked grave finally received a headstone noting her groundbreaking accomplishments.
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