The Pioneering Achievements of the First African-American Doctor

James McCune Smith was not just any doctor - he was an African-American pioneer who achieved many groundbreaking feats such as becoming the first African-American doctor with a medical degree from University of Glasgow.

The Pioneering Achievements of the First African-American Doctor

James Durham, born a slave in 1762, bought his freedom and began his own medical practice in New Orleans, becoming the first African-American doctor in the United States. James McCune Smith wasn't just any doctor. He was the first African-American to obtain a medical degree, educated at the University of Glasgow in the 1830s, when no American university would admit him. For this pioneering achievement alone, Smith deserves greater appreciation. James McCune Smith, MD, was a man of the firsts.

In 1837, he became the first African-American to receive a medical degree, although he had to enroll in the Medical School of the University of Glasgow due to racist admission practices at the University of Glasgow. And that was far from his only groundbreaking achievement. He was also the first black person to own and operate a pharmacy in the United States and the first black doctor published in the U. S.

UU. Born in 1813 to a poor fugitive slave from South Carolina who had escaped to New York City, James McCune Smith went on to attend the University of Glasgow during the 1830s. When he returned to the United States, he became a prominent black doctor, a tireless abolitionist, activist and journalist. Smith was also the first to own and operate a pharmacy, in New York City. He began his education at the Free African School in New York City, but soon discovered that he couldn't go any further in the U. UU.

John and Briny were born in Troup County, Georgia, to former slaves turned sharecroppers. His father wanted the brothers to be sharecroppers as well. But when John was around 12 years old, the first “doctor of color” moved to the city. The man, Edward Ramsey, was a native son whose father, a “mulatto” had sent him to Nashville to medical school. These facts show that within 15 years after becoming a Free State, part of New York's free black population had improved the proportion of its mortality by 13.28%, a fact unparalleled in the history of any people.

In 1864, after years as a nurse, Rebecca Lee Crumpler became the first black woman in the United States to receive a medical doctor's degree. Opposing the emigration of free black Americans to other countries, Smith believed that native Americans had the right to live in the United States and claim their land for their work and birth. When he returned to the United States, Smith was welcomed by a hero from New York's black community. In 1840, Smith wrote the first known case report to a black doctor entitled Case of Ptyalism with fatal termination which his associate Dr. With his title mocking phrenology's attempts to diminish the value of African Americans, Smith paints worthy portraits of ordinary black people; a black man in boots; a washerman as examples of unique personalities inherent in every human being. In July 1863 during recruitment riots in Manhattan Irish rioters attacked blacks all over the city and set fire to an orphan's asylum. When federal government used data from 1840 census to argue that emancipated blacks in North compared to those still enslaved were “more prone to vice and pauperism accompanied by bodily and mental effects that caused them deafness blindness insanity and idiocy” Smith mounted campaign to refute claim. In 1895 he helped organize National Medical Association for black professionals who were excluded from American Medical Association.

In 1975 he became founding dean of what became Morehouse School of Medicine first predominantly black medical school opened in United States in 20th century. Numerous buildings had been destroyed in their former neighborhoods and an estimated 100 blacks died in riots. He was also first black person to own and operate pharmacy in United States and first black doctor published in U. UU.