STORIES
Health Heroes

Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler

by Demiana Hanna from San Diego, California in United States

I early conceived a liking for and sought every opportunity to relieve the suffering of others.

Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler once said, "I early conceived a liking for and sought every opportunity to relieve the suffering of others”. Crumpler sought every second of every minute of every hour to care for the welfare of the less fortunate. Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler strived to improve the health of the African American community around her. Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first black physician in the United States. Crumpler’s aunt was also a nurse and raised Crumpler all her life. Rebecca Lee Crumpler graduated from the New England Female Medical College with medical degree in 1864, making her the first African-American woman to earn an MD in the United States. Rebecca was born in the early 1830’s either in Delaware, United States, or in Richmond, Virginia. This occurred awhile back, that the location of Crumpler’s birth is unclear. In 1852-1860, Crumpler moved to Charlestown, Massachusetts where she became a self-taught nurse. In 1860, the Civil War interrupted Crumpler’s classes. Crumpler later died in 1895, in Boston Massachusetts. A hero is someone who continuously is brave enough to support everyone around them and dedicated to improving the well- being of others. Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler received the title of a hero because of her bravery to be the first female African American physician in the United states and how she remained dedicated to caring and providing healthcare to the less-fortunate.

Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler gained the title of a hero because of her bravery to be the first African American physician in the United States. Kate Kelly stated that Crumpler’s bravery led her to care for the freed slaves in the south who had no access to healthcare: “Rebecca began a medical practice in Boston, but when the war ended in 1865, she moved to Richmond, Virginia to help the freed slaves who otherwise would have had no access to medical care. She noted that it would be “a proper field for real missionary work,” and it was; racism was widespread” (Kelly). The Civil War interrupted Crumpler’s studies, leaving her to graduate in 1864 instead of 1860. After the war ended, Crumpler sought for more ways to care for others. She helped the freed slaves who had no prior health opportunities. Crumpler’s bravery drove her to provide health for the destitute when no one cared. Crumpler protected others health which made her a hero. According to the website, “Changing the Face of Medicine”, Crumpler confronted the perception that African Americans could not pursue their careers: “Rebecca Lee Crumpler challenged the prejudice that prevented African Americans from pursuing careers in medicine to became the first African American woman in the United States to earn an M.D. degree, a distinction formerly credited to Rebecca Cole” (Changing the Face of Medicine). Crumpler’s bravery drove her to question the acceptance of African Americans and their career decisions. Crumpler’s fearlessness shepherded her to oppose the discrimination of others. She believed in equality for all and inspired many people with her courage. Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler deserved the title of a hero because of her bravery she showed and selfless actions she committed throughout her lifetime.

Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler also acquired the title of a hero because of her dedication to enhance the conditions of the African American community. Crumpler devoted most of her lifetime to improving the health of the African American community: “She spent her lifetime working to improve the health of the black community, and described her lifelong sense of vocation in the following words: ‘I early conceived a liking for and sought every opportunity to relieve the suffering of others’” (Rebecca Lee Crumpler -Notable). Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler dedicated most of her time refining the health of the African American community.  Crumpler used every bit of her energy striving to help those who were disadvantaged. A true hero comes from within and chases every opportunity to help others. Crumpler never waited for anyone to help the less-fortunate, she followed her dreams of helping others and pursued them. According to Kate Kelly, a writer and publisher of “America Comes Alive”, Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler was self-educated and fascinated many: “Rebecca moved to Charlestown, Massachusetts where she became a nurse (1852-1860); there were no schools of nursing at that time, so she learned on the job. She impressed the doctors with whom she worked, and they submitted letters recommending her acceptance in to the New England Female Medical College” (Kelly). During the time of 1852-1860 there were no nursing schools. Given the disadvantage that Crumpler faced, she explored other opportunities for completing her studies. Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler astonished doctors with her performance that they wrote letters of recommendation for her acceptance into the New England Female Medical College. Yes, most doctors and nurses nowadays aren’t self-taught, but Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler was. She challenged herself to the limit, shaping her personality in the 1850’s. Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler deserved the title of a hero because of her dedication and persistence to make the world a healthier place.

Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler earned the title of a hero because of her bravery to challenge the idea that African Americans could not pursue their careers and her dedication that continuously cared for the less-fortunate. Like Crumpler once famously stated, “I early conceived a liking for and sought every opportunity to relieve the suffering of others”. Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler helped many freed slaves after the Civil War, who would otherwise been given no access to medical care. She confronted the idea that African Americans could not conquer their dreams. Crumpler put almost all her life to the sick and was even a self-taught nurse. Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler is as inspiration to me and others because of her generosity and kind-heartedness towards everyone in society. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always wanted to become a doctor. I have so many role models in front of me today, but after exploring Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler’s journey and how she became the first female African American physician in the United States, I want to become a doctor even more. Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler cared for sick children in her home, she treated them until healthy. There aren’t many individuals who cared for others that they welcomed them into their homes to care for them. She didn’t let a day go by until she cared for her patients. Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler’s positive mindset on life drove her to care for the sick on the daily.

 

"African Americans in Medicine." African American Almanac, edited by Brigham Narins, 10thed., Gale, 2009. Student Resources In Context,https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/EJ2135010127/SUIC?u=powa9245&sid=SUIC&xid=755156b5. Accessed 16 Jan. 201

“Changing the Face of Medicine | Rebecca Lee Crumpler.” U.S. National Library of Medicine,National Institutes of Health, 3 June 2015, https://cfmedicine.nlm.nih.gov/physicians/biography_73.html.

Kelly, Kate. “Rebecca Lee Crumpler (1831-1895), Physician.” America Comes Alive, 11 Jan. 2019,https://americacomesalive.com/2012/01/31/rebecca-lee-crumpler-1833-1895-physician/.

"Rebecca Lee Crumpler." Contemporary Black Biography, vol. 89, Gale, 2011. Biography In Context,https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/K1606005213/BIC?u=powa9245&sid=BIC&xid=0f49a66d. Accessed 16 Jan. 2019.

"Rebecca Lee Crumpler." Notable Black American Scientists, Gale, 1998. Biography In Context, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/K1621000059/BIC?u=powa9245&sid=BIC&xid=68ad2542. Accessed 16 Jan. 2019.

Page created on 1/30/2019 1:21:44 AM

Last edited 1/31/2019 12:09:35 AM

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Related Links

Changing the Face of Medicine - Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler's journey throughout her lifetime and her successes.
America Comes Alive - Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler's achievements during 1831-1895.