The history of medicine is filled with remarkable stories of African American physicians who have made significant contributions to the field. From James McCune Smith, the first African American to publish in a peer-reviewed medical journal, to Rebecca Lee Crumpler, the first black woman to receive a medical doctor's degree, these individuals have left an indelible mark on the medical profession. In this article, we will explore the accomplishments of some of these remarkable black physicians and their impact on the medical world.James McCune Smith was born into slavery but managed to direct his talents towards the eradication of slavery. After completing his residency in Paris, he returned to the United States and established a doctor's office at 55 West Broadway, where he also opened the first black-owned pharmacy in the country.
He treated both black and white patients and was a prominent abolitionist and pioneer in using statistical analysis to refute government claims that blacks were less intelligent than whites. In 1844, Smith published “On the Influence of Opium on Catamenial Functions” to the New York Journal of Medicine, becoming the first publication by an African American in a peer-reviewed medical journal. He also served as medical director of the Colored Orphans Asylum and worked for Freedmen's Bureau, treating former slaves who were rejected as patients by white doctors.Myra Adele Logan graduated from New York School of Medicine in 1933 and became an associate surgeon at Harlem Hospital. Ten years later, she became the first woman to perform open heart surgery and was also the first African-American woman elected to the American College of Surgeons.
Her other achievements included developing the antibiotic Aureomycin and working on early detection and treatment of breast cancer.Dr. Daniel Hale Williams was the first black psychiatrist and neuropathologist in the United States. He was born in Liberia but moved to America to study at Livingstone College in Salisbury, North Carolina. He later studied at Long Island College Medical School and received his doctorate in 1897 from Boston University School of Medicine.
After completing his postgraduate studies at the University of Munich (Germany), he worked alongside Alois Alzheimer and helped discover biomarkers of what is now known as Alzheimer's disease.Dr. Louis Tompkins Wright was an African-American surgeon, the first in a non-segregated hospital in New York. He was also a civil rights activist and served as president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People for about 20 years. The son of former slaves, Wright earned a medical degree from Harvard University School of Medicine in 1915, graduating fourth in his class.
After World War I, he moved to New York City and became the first African-American appointed to the surgical staff of Harlem Hospital.Encouraged by her father to pursue medicine, Wright's daughter Jane C. Wright graduated from New York Medical School at the top of her class. As a doctor, she researched and developed new anti-cancer agents and chemotherapy techniques. She was even recognized by physician and political leader Benjamin Rush, co-founder of the Philadelphia College of Physicians.Her accomplishments include presiding as the first black president of the American Association of Medical Women in 1974 and serving as administrator of scientific programs at the National Institutes of Health.
She was even recognized by physician and political leader Benjamin Rush, co-founder of the Philadelphia College of Physicians.The history of medicine is filled with remarkable stories of African American physicians who have made significant contributions to their field. From James McCune Smith, who published “On the Influence of Opium on Catamenial Functions” to Myra Adele Logan who performed open heart surgery, these individuals have left an indelible mark on medicine. Their accomplishments are a testament to their dedication and hard work, inspiring future generations to pursue their dreams.