L-Dub students Savannah ’17 and Soleil ’17 have launched a #BlackHistoryMonth project to introduce important, influential, and inspirational women of African-American history to our community. Some women already adorn our red lockers, but many will be curated by the pair themselves.
Black History goes far beyond the 28 days of a calendar, and could never be covered in one month. From its troubled beginnings of oppression and trying periods of segregation that birthed the movements that inspired change, leading all the way up to those who ignited new waves of magic and empowerment, there is definitely a lot to cover. Soleil and Savannah are bringing recognition to both the ups and down of the black experience, acknowledging triumphs and pioneering causes, and many stories that didn’t make it into textbooks. The influential leaders, agitators, and un-sung heroes they are highlighting have made their mark in history, and at L-Dub, we celebrate them.
Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler
(February 8, 1831-March 9, 1895)
→ Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler was the first African-American woman to receive a medical degree in the U.S.
→ She was raised by her aunt, who most likely influenced her decision to go into the medical profession, especially since medical care for the needs of poor blacks was almost non-existent during the antebellum years.
→ Between 1852 and 1860, Crumpler worked as a nurse in Charlestown, Mass. However, a wider door had been opened for women physicians across the country, possibly due to heavy demands for medical care of Civil War veterans, leading a new generation of women — including Crumpler — to pursue an M.D., which she earned in 1864 from New England Female Medical College.
→ It was an amazing achievement, being the first woman of color to break down the walls of racism and sexism.
→ After the war, Crumpler moved to Richmond, Va., where her main focus was on the health needs of freed slaves. Her experience there, and later in Boston, led her to publish her now-renown Book of Medical Discourses In Two Parts, one of the first known medical writings by an African American and an early guidebook on public health.
Ella Josephine Baker
Ella Baker was an active civil rights leader in the 1930s, she fought for civil rights for five decades, working alongside W.E.B Dubois, Thurgood Marshall, and Martin Luther King, Jr. She even mentored well-known civil rights activist, Rosa Parks.
Around 1940, Baker became a field secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. She traveled extensively, raising funds and recruiting new members to the organization. In 1946, Baker became the NAACP's national director of branches. She later resigned from her NAACP post.
In 1957, Baker joined the Southern Christian Leadership Conference as its executive director at the request of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The SCLC was a civil rights group created by African American ministers and community leaders. During her time with the SCLC, Baker set up the event that led to the creation of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960. She offered her support and counsel to this organization of student activists.
While she left the SCLC in 1960, Baker remained active in the SNCC for many years. She helped them form the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in 1964 as an alternative to the state's Democratic Party, which held segregationist views.