Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler Day


WHEREAS, Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler was born in Delaware on February 8, 1831, to Absolum Davis and Matilda Webber and raised by her aunt, who provided care to the sick; and

WHEREAS, by 1852, Dr. Crumpler had moved to Massachusetts, where she worked as a nurse for the next eight years; and

WHEREAS, in 1860, with recommendations by physicians with whom she had worked, Dr. Crumpler was admitted to the New England Female Medical College; and

WHEREAS, in 1864, upon graduation from the New England Female Medical College (now Boston University School of Medicine), Dr. Crumpler became the first Black American woman in the United States to earn an M.D. degree; and

WHEREAS, following the end of the Civil War in 1865, Dr. Crumpler felt that Richmond, Virginia, would be “a proper field for real missionary work” where she could “relieve the suffering of others”; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Crumpler moved to Richmond, Virginia, where she worked alongside other Black physicians with the Freedmen’s Bureau, and missionary and community groups, to care for freed slaves who were routinely denied medical care by White physicians; and

WHEREAS, during her time in Richmond, Dr. Crumpler endured harsh conditions, disparaging comments, and intense discrimination by most fellow physicians; and

WHEREAS, in 1869, Dr. Crumpler and her husband returned to Boston where she bought a building in Beacon Hill in which she practiced and lived, that bears a permanent marker in her honor and is part of the Boston Freedom Trail Tour; and

WHEREAS, in 1883, Dr. Crumpler wrote, “A Book of Medical Discourses in Two Parts,” and became the first Black physician to write a medical textbook, and the only female physician-author in the 19th century; and

WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Virginia recognizes Dr. Crumpler for her remarkable courage, her tremendous accomplishments in medicine, and the amazing legacy she leaves for citizens throughout Virginia;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize March 30, 2019, as DR. REBECCA LEE CRUMPLER DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.