REBECCA LEE CRUMPLER

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Rebecca Lee Crumpler was an American physician and author. Becoming a Doctor of Medicine in 1864 after studying at the New England Female Medical College, she was the first African-American woman to become a physician in the United States. Crumpler first practiced medicine in Boston, primarily for poor women and children. After the American Civil War ended in 1865, she moved to RIchmond, Virginia,  believing it to be "a proper field for real missionary work" and to continue her focus on diseases of women and children. Crumpler worked for the Freed Men's Bureau to provide medical care to freed slaves; I️t comes as no surprise that she was subject to "intense racism" and sexism while practicing medicine. She later moved back to Boston and according to her book, “entered into the work with renewed vigor, practicing outside, and receiving children in house for treatment; regardless, in a measure, of remuneration." In 1883, she published A Book of Medical Discourses. Dedicated to nurses and mothers, it focused on the medical care of women and children and was one of the first publications written by an African American about medicine.

The Rebecca Lee Society, one of the first medical societies for African-American women, was named in her honor. Her home on Joy Street is a stop on the Boston Women's Heritage Trail.

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