Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first African-American woman to become a doctor. Born in Delaware in 1831, she began her medical career as a nurse despite the fact that, as was typical for the time, she had no formal training.
In 1860, Dr. Crumpler entered the New England Female Medical College, graduating with a Doctor of Medicine degree in 1864. She practiced medicine in Boston only briefly before moving to Richmond, Virginia. Focusing on the health care of women and children, she felt her new home afforded her missionary opportunities as she tended to the indigents and freed slaves of the area. Dr. Crumpler eventually returned to practice again in Boston before retiring.