The history of African-American physicians is one of resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity. Despite the obstacles they faced due to Jim Crow laws and other discriminatory regulations, these pioneering doctors have made significant contributions to the medical field. From James McCune Smith, MD in 1813 to Leonidas Harris Berry, MD in 1902, Charles Richard Drew, MD in 1904, and beyond, these 10 African-American physicians have left an indelible mark on the medical world. James McCune Smith, MD (1813-1886) was the first African-American to receive a medical degree.
He was also the first black doctor admitted to the American College of Surgeons. Smith was a prominent abolitionist and a leader in the anti-slavery movement. He was also a prolific writer and published several books on medicine and science.Leonidas Harris Berry, MD (1902-1999) was the first black surgeon in the South and the first black woman to be appointed a member of the American College of Surgeons. She was also the medical director of the Mississippi Health Project, bringing state and federal resources to impoverished Black communities in the rural South during the Great Depression.Charles Richard Drew, MD (1904-1950) was a pioneer in blood transfusion research and developed techniques for storing blood plasma for transfusion.
He also co-founded the National Medical Association and became the first black doctor admitted to the American College of Surgeons.St. Louis Wright, MD (1891-1952) was the first African-American to hold a staff position at a municipal hospital in New York City. In 1929, he was hired as a police surgeon, making him the first black doctor to hold that position.Hazel Johnson Brown, MD (1927-2011) was the first black woman to become a general surgeon in the United States. She was also the first black president of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the first black president of the Society of Adolescent Medicine.Clarence Grim, MD (1917-2008) was an influential leader in public health and civil rights.
He served as Assistant Surgeon General in 1988, becoming the first black woman to hold such a position in the United States Public Health Service.Tate Miller, MD (1909-1995) was a pioneer in civil rights who fought for equal access to healthcare for African Americans. He was instrumental in desegregating hospitals in Dallas during the 1940s and 1950s.John Anderson, DO (1937-present) is professor of surgery and senior advisor to the dean of Michigan State University School of Osteopathic Medicine in East Lansing. In 1994, he became the first black president of the American Osteopathic Association.These 10 pioneering African-American physicians have made invaluable contributions to medicine and civil rights. They have paved the way for future generations of doctors and continue to inspire us today.