Saturday, February 28, 2015

Famous Black Firsts: Rebecca Davis Lee

Rebecca Davis Lee was born in 1831 Delaware. She was raised by her aunt in Pennsylvania that took care of sick neighbors during a time where poor sick Blacks were not a concern. After moving to Massachusetts she started nursing by 1852 and by 1860 she was accepted into the New England Female Medical College at a time where this was not happening much at all. When she graduated in 1864 she was the first Black woman in the US to earn a M.D degree and the only Black woman to graduate from the college. 

After the Civil War ended in 1865 she went to Richmond, Virginia and began missionary work for poor Blacks and worked for the Freedmen's Bureau to give medical care to freed slaves. During this time male doctors would ignore her and pharmacists would not fill prescriptions she requested. With her husband Dr. Arthur Crumpler while living in Boston she took in sick patients in her community. In 1883 she published Book Of Medical Discourse which was for women teaching them how to care for their families. There are no pictures of Lee and the ones you see online are of Mary Eliza Mahoney as if no one bothered to check past one page on Google. I found an image of a wax statue made of her.

Click here for previous Famous Black Firsts.  

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