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February 24

 

February 24, 1864

Rebecca Lee Crumpler Becomes a Physician

On this date in 1864, Rebecca Lee Crumpler graduated from the New England Female Medical College to become the first black woman doctor in the United States, at a time when many male doctors opposed medical training for women of any race.

Crumpler had enrolled in the college in 1860, after working as a nurse for eight years. Following the Civil War, she settled in Richmond, V. A., where she devoted her practice to the care of women and children and assisted other black physicians tending to the medical needs of freed slaves. Crumpler was one of the first women to write a medical textbook; her Book of Medical Discourses was published in 1883.

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