Why Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, First Black Female Physician And Medical Writer, Was Born To Practice

2 Posted by - March 23, 2023 - BLACK WOMEN, LATEST POSTS

Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the medical pioneer of her time, the first African American woman to earn a degree in medicine as a physician. Born in Delaware in 1831 to Absolum Davis and Matilda Webber, little more has been recorded of Crumpler’s childhood but that she grew up in Pennsylvania under her aunt’s care and was influenced in her career choice by her aunt’s express caregiving to the ill in their community.

At 21, Crumpler moved to Charlestown, Massachusetts where she practiced nursing for eight years, just one of 300 known women in the medical field. She was unlicensed at the time as no former schooling in the subject existed until 1873, but the physicians for whom she worked so admired the passion in her care for others suggested that she attend school to further her career.

Under their recommendation she gained entrance into the New England Female Medical College with the assistance of a scholarship and graduated four years later, in 1864, as the first African American woman to achieve a Doctress of Medicine degree.

Her degree did come after some controversy as several professors held reservations against granting her certification, but this was rightly overturned due to the deference of the Trustees and abolitionist sentiments of the public at the time.

She started her practice in Boston, but traveled briefly to Richmond, Virginia after the Civil War ended in 1865, to meet a greater opportunity in treating women and children with less access to medical care. She remained for over a decade in Virginia, despite intense postwar racism, before returning to her Boston practice in the late 1870s.

Dr. Crumpler published her life’s work, the Book of Medical Discourses, in 1883, in which she noted of her career path, “that, having been reared by a kind aunt in Pennsylvania, whose usefulness with the sick was continually sought, I early conceived a liking for, and sought every opportunity to relieve the sufferings of others.”

There are no extant photos or other images to survive of Dr. Crumpler. The little we know about her comes from the introduction to her book, a remarkable account of her achievements as a physician and medical writer in a time when very few African Americans were able to gain admittance to medical college, let alone publish. Her book is one of the very first medical publications by an African American.



  • Lee College May 4, 2017 - 11:40 pm

    Hey great post. I hope it’s ok that I shared it on my
    Twitter, if not, no worries just let me know and I’ll delete it.

    Regardless keep up the great work.

  • NurseMom/5 October 13, 2017 - 8:25 am

    That’s not a picture of Rebecca Lee Crumpler…That’s Mary Eliza Mahoney, the first Black Nurse.

  • Donna March 9, 2018 - 12:01 pm

    This is a common error. I wish someone would take the time to research and find a picture of Dr Rebecca. If I had time I would..maybe the medical school might have clues..

  • gamefly free trial May 2, 2019 - 3:56 am

    Hi, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and
    i was just curious if you get a lot of spam feedback?
    If so how do you protect against it, any plugin or anything you can recommend?
    I get so much lately it’s driving me crazy so any support is
    very much appreciated.

  • gamefly May 6, 2019 - 8:37 am

    May I simply just say what a comfort to find someone who really understands what
    they’re talking about over the internet. You certainly realize how to bring an issue
    to light and make it important. More and more people ought to read this and understand this side of the story.
    It’s surprising you are not more popular since you definitely possess the gift.

  • minecraft download pc May 6, 2019 - 3:21 pm

    Fantastic beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your website, how could
    i subscribe for a blog web site? The account aided me a appropriate deal.
    I have been a little bit familiar of this your broadcast
    provided brilliant transparent idea

  • g May 10, 2019 - 1:46 pm

    Having read this I thought it was really informative.
    I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this
    article together. I once again find myself personally spending
    a significant amount of time both reading and leaving comments.
    But so what, it was still worth it!

  • how to download minecraft free May 11, 2019 - 8:46 pm

    Wow, fantastic weblog structure! How lengthy have you ever
    been blogging for? you made blogging glance
    easy. The total look of your web site is magnificent, as smartly
    as the content!

  • gamefly free trial May 28, 2019 - 5:34 pm

    There’s certainly a great deal to find out about this issue.
    I love all the points you have made.

  • gamefly free trial May 29, 2019 - 8:44 am

    This design is wicked! You definitely know how to keep a reader amused.

    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog
    (well, almost…HaHa!) Fantastic job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that,
    how you presented it. Too cool!

  • Rebsoli June 2, 2019 - 12:18 pm

    Levitra Farmaco Impotenza Precio Cialis Levitra Viagra Et Forum canadian cialis Azithromycin Buy Online

  • gamefly free trial June 2, 2019 - 7:56 pm

    If some one wishes to be updated with most recent technologies after that he must be visit this site and be up to date every day.

  • gamefly free trial June 3, 2019 - 12:31 pm

    I’ll right away snatch your rss feed as I can’t in finding your e-mail subscription link or e-newsletter service.
    Do you have any? Kindly allow me know in order that I may just subscribe.

  • gamefly free trial June 5, 2019 - 9:11 pm

    It’s remarkable to pay a visit this site and reading the views of all mates about this post, while I
    am also eager of getting experience.

  • Rebsoli June 14, 2019 - 10:27 am

    Prod 39 Buy Viagracheap Best Price For Generic Cialis Cialis Viagra Comparaison Isotretinoin Buy Online Uk

  • Arleen Fogel June 18, 2019 - 2:32 am

    Love what you are doing! Keep it up.