First Annual ‘Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler Day’ in Delaware

June 21, 2023

On June 21 Delaware Humanities will pay tribute to the first anniversary of Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler Day by releasing the second episode of its 50th anniversary podcast: In Conversation: 2023/1973. The podcast episode will feature Delaware physician and National Medical Association (NMA) First State Chapter member Dr. Marshala Lee in conversation with Ms. Jasmine Brown, who is a medical student at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of Twice as Hard: The Stories of Black Women Who Fought to Become Physicians, From the Civil War to the 21st Century. The first chapter of Ms. Brown’s book tells the story of Dr. Crumpler, born in Christiana, Delaware in 1831, and her journey to become the first African American woman in the United States to earn a M.D. degree. She made history again as the first Black author to write a medical text, A Book of Medical Discourses, published in 1883. 

It has been one year since Delaware Humanities met physicians and health advocates in Dover to celebrate the passing of House Concurrent Resolution 97, which recognizes the achievements of Dr. Crumpler.

“Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler was a pioneer who blazed the trail for Black and female physicians such as myself,” said Dr. Marshala Lee, who represented the resolution as the presentation speaker. “She spent much of her life dedicated to improving the health of the underserved and otherwise uncared-for community members regardless of their ability to pay. In honor of Dr. Crumpler, we must continue to work collectively to end health disparities, increase health workforce diversity, and address the social determinants of health. We must keep her legacy alive.”

Dr. Lee and Ms. Brown’s conversation in episode 2 of In Conversation: 2023/1973 addresses these concerns and the role of African American female physicians in our healthcare system, particularly within the last 50 years. It will wrap up a 3-month focus by Delaware Humanities on Health & Environment, one of the four key concepts that define its programming and grantmaking. You can find this episode of Delaware Humanities’ In Conversation podcast on SoundCloud or the Delaware Humanities website beginning June 21.

For more information on the life of Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler, click on the articles below:

Overlooked No More: Rebecca Lee Crumpler, Who Battled Prejudice in Medicine

Joint Resolution Passes to Recognize “Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler Day” in Delaware

Boston Honors Trailblazing School of Medicine Alum Rebecca Lee Crumpler